The Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research issues letter in support of the NIH peer review system

Posted by Kimberly Acquaviva, PhD, MSW on August 19, 2009 at 11:12am

The Ad Hoc Group for Medical Research issued a request earlier today for organizational endorsements to a letter that have written in support of the NIH peer review system. The letter will be sent to all Senators prior to Senate floor action on the FY 2010 Labor-HHS-Education spending bill. If your organization would like to sign the Ad Hoc Group’s letter, please contact Hayzell Gollopp at [email protected]. The deadline for sign-ons is 4 p.m. on Wednesday, September 2.

See below for text of the Ad Hoc Group’s letter:

September #, 2009

United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator:

The undersigned patient groups, scientific and medical societies, research institutions, and industry organizations urge you to uphold the competitive, scientific peer review system and vote against any amendment to the Senate FY 2010 Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations bill that would eliminate funding for specific research grants supported by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

The medical research supported by NIH over the past 60 years has made the United States the world leader in science and medicine and has added to the length and quality of life of millions of Americans. Congress has been responsible for investing the resources that have made NIH’s extraordinary success a reality.

To be sure, Congress has oversight responsibility for ensuring that proper policies and procedures are in place to ensure that these funds are effectively allocated based on sound scientific judgment and competitive, merit review. The remarkable advances achieved through NIH-supported research confirm the effectiveness of those policies and procedures. By protecting the scientific peer review system, which subjects research proposals to rigorous evaluation for scientific and public health merit, Congress ensures that the highest-quality research – research that contributes directly to public health – is funded with federal dollars. The scientific merit and public health benefit from an individual study is not always apparent outside this careful review.

Eliminating funding of individual NIH grants undermines vital research as well as the peer review system –the best system for ensuring scientific and fiscal accountability on behalf of the American taxpayer. For our nation’s public health, and for the continuing success of the U.S. medical research enterprise, we urge you to oppose any amendment that targets individual NIH research grants in this manner.