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Stimulus Funds Not Helping Health Research, Study Shows

Stimulus funds are helping industry sectors, but definitely not helping health  research. The U.S. invested $139 billion health research last year, an increase of 0.1 percent, or 5.6 cents, per health dollar from 2008, a study found. And that's no thanks to stimulus funds.

Research!America's estimate of public and private research funding for 2009 represents 5.6 percent of the $2.47 trillion overall U.S. health spending for the year, which varies no more than 0.2 percent from 2005 levels, the non-profit organization says.

Former Rep. John Edward Porter, R-Ill., Research!America's chairman, says the effects of the economic recession can be seen throughout the other sectors that fund health research and development -- industry, universities, government, philanthropic foundations, voluntary health associations and independent research institutes -- remained essentially flat or declined in 2009.

Industry had the largest funding in 2009 at $74.3 billion, down slightly from $74.8 billion in 2008, but all other sources combined invested $17.8 billion, compared with $17.1 billion in 2008.

This increase can be attributed largely to the federal stimulus funding for research provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

"America's economic destiny lies in innovation, but other countries are stepping up, investing more and thus challenging our lead," Porter says in a statement. "We need to invest in our federal research agencies for the long term. Our economic competitiveness and our future standard of living depend on it."

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