FIGURE 2-1 Federal obligations for research, by field (in billions of constant 1987 dollars). SOURCE: National Science Board, 1994.

Of the estimated $28 billion invested in health R&D in 1992, industry sponsored 45 percent, federal government agencies sponsored about 41 percent, and the nonprofit sector sponsored 4 percent.

Health research has also grown as a share of total national R&D, from about 13 percent in 1980 to 18 percent in 1992. As Figure 2-2 reveals, health R&D has grown as a fraction of total federal investment since 1984. However, health R&D has grown more rapidly as a share of all other national sources of support for research and development. In summary, although government budgets for health-related R&D have grown steadily over the past decade, other sectors have absorbed a greater share of the sponsorship of health research.

Patterns of Federal Support

The principal sponsor of government research in the health sciences in the United States is the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It is estimated that NIH will provide over 90 percent of the $10.9 billion of federal budget for health research and development in 1994. (See Appendix Table F-2). Research highlights from the fiscal 1994 health budget for the federal government reveal that the National Cancer Institute has the largest share of R&D funding within NIH ($2.08 billion in 1994), closely followed by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute ($1.3 billion). These two institutes account for about one-third of the total NIH R&D budget. Although the administration proposed a 3.2 percent increase over fiscal 1993 levels for each of the 20 institutes and centers within NIH over fiscal 1993 levels, the U.S. Congress responded by increasing fiscal 1994 levels by over 5 percent. However, this rate of growth between fiscal years 1993 and 1994 represents a lower rate than that observed in the late 1980s which averaged about 8 percent a year. Components of the NIH budget in 1994 receiving the largest increases included:

  • the Human Genome Center (23 percent),

  • the National Library of Medicine (16 percent),

  • the Fogarty International Center (10 percent),

  • the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases (8 percent), and

  • the Division of Research Resources (6 percent).

In summary, federal support for health research remains strong although the rate of growth has slowed somewhat in recent years (AAAS, 1992 and 1993). Coupled with current economic considerations (described below), it is uncertain, however, whether anticipated growth for health research will match that observed in the 1980s.

Trends in Industrial Support

In 1987 the pharmaceutical industry provided almost $5.4 billion and the biotechnology industry provided $1.4

FIGURE 2-2 Funding of health R&D as a percentage of total R&D, by source. SOURCE: National Science Board, 1994.

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