Increase National Institutes of Health Funding for Diabetes Mellitus Research

Richard Darling, DDS; Leonard J. Morse, MD; Donald J. Hillebrand, MD; Waldo Concepcion, MD 

        The incidence and mortality of Diabetes Mellitus (DM) is increasing in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates there are 21 million people with the illness resulting in 73,965 deaths (2004), which is 4.5 times the number estimated for Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency Disease Syndrome (HIV/AIDS).

       The National Institutes of Health (NIH) 2007 proposed budget of $1.053 billion for research in DM equals approximately $50 per patient. In contrast, the proposed NIH funding for research in HIV/AIDS is $2.888 billion. The CDC estimates that there are 950,000-1,000,000 patients with HIV/AIDS in the U.S., and hence its research allocation approaches $3,000 per person, which is 60 times greater than for D.M. When comparing the total cost per death, the imbalance in NIH funding for DM research versus that for HIV/AIDS is $14,236 versus $182,807 respectively.

      The progress made in the past twenty-five years unraveling the mystery of HIV infection, including understanding the importance of disease prevention and the development of effective antiretroviral medication, has resulted in significant reduction in mortality and morbidity and such improvement is exceedingly complimentary to the achievements in both the biological and social sciences. This is evidenced by the death rate from HIV/AIDS falling significantly in the USA, including a 98 percent decrease in California’s newly infected patients from 1992 to 2005.

      The FAIR (Fair Allocation in Research) Foundation seeks a more balanced distribution of tax-generated money that will favorably impact NIH bio-medical research allocations for DM.

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