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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 13, 2012
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

NAEVR: DISAPPOINTED IN PRESIDENT OBAMA’S PROPOSED FY2013 FLAT-FUNDING FOR NIH, REDUCED NEI FUNDING

(Washington, D.C.) Today, the National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) issued a statement about the Obama Administration’s proposed Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Eye Institute (NEI). The proposal would freeze NIH at $30.7 billion and decrease NEI funding by $8.86 million, or a 1.2 percent cut. NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky commented as follows:

“Although NAEVR fully appreciates the Obama Administration’s commitment to biomedical research, the Alliance is disappointed with the freeze in National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding and the 1.2 percent decrease in NEI funding. Flat-funding the NIH is equivalent to a loss, as it does not account for biomedical inflation. If Congress enacted this budget, fiscal year 2013 would represent the tenth year that NIH funding has not kept up with inflation, resulting in a budget 20 percent smaller than a decade ago, when adjusted for inflation. The NEI budget loss is even larger over that same period of time. These estimates are prior to the potential impact of sequestration, as mandated by the Budget Control Act, which would mean a further cut of seven to ten percent in FY2013.

The NEI budget cut is especially alarming since the first wave of the 78 million Baby Boomers has started turning age 65 and is at greatest risk from aging eye disease. NEI estimates that, by 2020, more than 50 million Americans age 40+ will be blind, have low vision, or an age-related eye disease. Congressional resolutions passed in 2009 recognized 2010-2020 as The Decade of Vision, so vision research funding must keep pace with the growing public health problem of aging eye disease and vision impairment.

In its FY2013 advocacy, NAEVR will continue to cite the basic and clinical/translational research breakthroughs emerging from NEI-funded research to 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 www.eyeresearch.org.