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February 1, 2010
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director


(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) issued a statement about the Obama Administrationís proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2011 funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Eye Institute (NEI). The proposal would increase NIH funding by $1 billion, or a 3.2 percent increase, to a level of $32.2 billion, and increase NEI funding by $17.3 million, or 2.4 percent, to a level of $724.36 million. NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky commented as follows:

"Although NAEVR fully appreciates the Obama Administrationís commitment to biomedical research through the proposed inflationary increase in NIH funding, we must ensure that NIH maintains the current momentum of research and fully leverages the expanded capacity for research, as evidenced by the number of high quality grant applications submitted in response to American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) opportunities in both FY2009 and 2010. As a result, NAEVR urges Congress to use the Obama proposal as a promising starting point for discussions leading to FY2011 NIH funding of $35 billion, and has already begun actively voicing that message on Capitol Hill. Although NAEVR realizes the challenging fiscal environment that Congress faces in the FY2011 appropriations process, investing $35 billion in NIH has the potential to address unmet medical needs, reduce healthcare costs, increase productivity, and ensure the continued global competitiveness of the United States.

NAEVR especially urges Congress to improve upon the Administrationís proposed 2.4 percent increase in the NEIís FY2011 funding level, which does not even match the biomedical inflation rate. In 2009, Congress spoke volumes in passing H. Res. 366 and S. Res. 209, which acknowledged NEIís 40th anniversary and designated 2010-2020 as The Decade of Vision. Year 2010 begins a decade in which more than half of the 78 million Baby Boomers will turn 65 years of age and be at greatest risk for developing aging eye disease. This is not the time for a less-than-inflationary increase that nets a loss in the NEIís purchasing power. NEI-funded research is resulting in treatments and therapies that can save vision and restore sight, which can reduce healthcare costs, maintain productivity, ensure independence, and enhance quality of life."

The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) is a 501(c)4 non-profit advocacy coalition comprised of 55 professional, consumer, and industry organizations involved in eye and vision research. Visit the Web site at