"Clearly, drug addiction is a serious problem facing our country, and finding new medical treatments is a high priority,"... "I don't know if the critics want us to experiment with humans, or just give up on the problem of drug addiction, but we aren't going to do either."
NIH Director Francis Collins, 8/5/2010
"You can make a case that if we just hire people to dig a ditch to nowhere we'd put a lot of people to work, but it wouldn't be laying much of a foundation for the future.
Rep. Bart Gordon (D., Tenn.) WSJ 2010
“We are all sick because of AIDS - and we are all tested by this crisis. It is a test not only of our willingness torespond, but of our ability to look past the artificial divisions and debates that have often shaped that response. When you go to places like Africa and you see this problem up close, you realize that it's not a question of either treatment or prevention – or even what kind of prevention – it is all of the above. It is not an issue of either science or values – it is both. Yes, there must be more money spent on this disease. Bu there must also be a change in hearts and minds, in cultures and attitudes. Neither philanthropist nor scientist, neither government nor church, can solve this problem on their own - AIDS must be an all-hands-on-deck effort.”
Barack Obama, World AIDS Day Speech, Lake Forest, CA, Dec. 11, 2006
“When you look at a cursory examination of the title or an abstract [of a grant] you don’t have an idea. That’s why we have peer review...Prohibiting specific grants sets a dangerous precedent for scientific research that has progressed and advanced for decades through freedom of inquiry into a broad spectrum of subjects…second guessing peer-review in this way could compromise the fabric of our public research enterprise one thread at a time.”
Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA), Chairman of the House Science Committee’s Basic Research Subcommittee on the House floor, May 2, 2007
"De-funding meritorious grants on the floor of Congress is unjustified scientific censorship. It undermines the historical strength of American science which is based on our world renowned, apolitical and transparent peer review process."
NIH Director Elias Zerhouni 6/23/05
"When we looked at the public-health relevance, there was no question that these projects should have been funded and should continue to be funded."
NIH Director Elias Zerhouni
The Chronicle of Higher Education, 1/13/04
"I strongly urge the Members to resist the temptation to select a few grants for defunding because they do not like the sound of them based on one paragraph out of what probably was a number of pages of information. It would set a dangerous precedent and put a chill on medical research if we start to micromanage individual NIH grants.
This has worked well over the years. We have had enormous progress because of these grants in achieving medical knowledge and giving the public a better health care system. I do not think this body, this committee, wants to get into the process of reviewing 120,000 grants and trying to pick 40,000 out of that group for funding."
Rep. Ralph Regula -- Chairman, House
Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee,
House floor July 11, 2003
"I have served on the subcommittee that deals with NIH for a long time, and the one thing I came to understand very quickly is that the day that we politicize NIH research, the day we decide which grants are going to be approved on the basis of a 10-minute horseback debate in the House of Representatives with 434 of the 435 Members in this place who do not even know what the grant is, that is the day we will ruin science research in this country. We have no business making political judgments about those kinds of issues."
Rep. David Obey -- Ranking Member, House Labor, Health and Human Services and Education Appropriations Subcommittee, House floor July 11, 2003
"When you look at the impact of sexually transmitted disease, you're talking about HIV/AIDS and many others that affect millions of people and their reproductive lives."
NIH Director Elias Zerhouni
USA Today, Jan. 13, 2004
"Decisions about medical research should be made by scientists, not by politicians promoting an ideological agenda.”
Democratic House Leader
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, July 2003
"Here we have people saying, 'I don't like how that disease was contracted, so I don't want to study that disease.' It's equivalent to sticking your head in the sand. It's very important that the scientific community rises up and objects to the imposition of ideology in these areas."
Alan Leshner, President and CEO, AAAS, Washington Post, 1/19/04
“Obviously, in areas such as HIV/AIDS, it’s a sexually-transmitted disease, it’s a disease that is transmitted by injection drug use, by a variety of other mechanisms . . . we cannot avoid addressing the issues that are at the very foundation of why millions and millions of people are getting infected.
Anthony Fauci, Director, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health, June 2, 2004
"Central to the NIH peer-review process is objective evaluation based on a proposal's scientific merit. . . Many would argue that it is the scientific objectivity of this process and the fact that scientists -- not politicians, political appointees, advocacy groups, or lobbyists -- who decide what gets funded, that is in large part responsible for the nation's world leadership in science."
Rep. John Edward Porter -- Former Chairman, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services and Education in JAMA September 21, 2005.
For more information about the Coalition contact:
Angela Sharpe (COSSA) at firstname.lastname@example.org, (202) 842-3525
Petition to the U.S. Congress to
Support High-Quality Scientific Research
The United States benefits from the finest system of biomedical and behavioral health research in the world. Health research has been guided by far-sighted policymakers who understand the value of long-term investments in research to improve health, and who have set up a system of the highest quality that allows good science to flourish. Effective policy planning and appropriate, stable funding levels are essential to producing outcomes that save lives and health care costs; enhance the quality of life of our families and children; and improve systems of health care delivery.
We urge the U.S. Congress to uphold the quality of our nation's health research enterprise by embracing the following fundamental values that have supported its development and quality. Diminishing these principles can only cause harm to the American people and the rest of the world, by undermining the collective efforts of researchers and clinicians to improve health. We strongly urge Congress and the Executive Branch to support:
1) Relying on scientific merit review (also called 'peer review') to judge the quality and relevance of research proposals. Hundreds of scientists and clinicians from universities and research institutions across the country, representing a wide range of disciplines, volunteer their time and expertise to make the system work. In the competition for funding, fewer than 30 percent of high-quality scientific proposals receive support. This merit review, combined with a second-level review by the scientific and lay (public) members of health advisory councils ensures that scientific merit and public values work together to fund only the best science.
2) Researching all behaviors and conditions that impact public health and all populations who are burdened by that impact. Protection of the public's health requires that all diseases/conditions and relevant behaviors be investigated without the burden of ideological prejudice.
3) Basing health policies on the best available scientific data and knowledge.
4) Including public participation in scientific priority setting. Through established formal mechanisms and public debate, members of Congress and private citizens contribute valuable ideas and expertise to the development of NIH research priorities. As an agency funded with public dollars, NIH and the scientists it entrusts with support work hard to maintain the public trust.
We affirm the value of these fundamental principles that have made the U.S. health research system foremost in the world. We encourage Congress to continue to respect these principles, and to reject any legislative or regulatory efforts to undermine them.
Updated June 05, 2006