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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 2, 2009
CONTACT: James F. Jorkasky
Executive Director
240-221-2905
jamesj@eyeresearch.org

NAEVR URGES AT LEAST A SEVEN PERCENT INCREASE IN FY2010 NIH/NEI FUNDING TO RESTORE PURCHASING POWER; NAEVR REQUESTS $736 MILLION FOR NEI

(Washington, D.C.) The National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research (NAEVR) is urging Congress to increase Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 National Institutes of Health (NIH) and National Eye Institute (NEI) funding by at least seven percent. This number, which reflects a modest three percent increase plus biomedical inflation (FY2009 level of 3.8 percent), would restore purchasing power lost due to flat funding and biomedical inflation over the past six funding cycles. At least a seven percent increase would mean NIH funding at $32.4 billion and NEI funding at $736 million.

In stating its FY2010 position, NAEVR Executive Director James Jorkasky ensured to commend Congress for two recent actions regarding NIH funding: the $10.4 billion in NIH funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and the final FY2009 NIH/NEI appropriations. The former consists of two-year, stimulative dollars that do not rebuild the NIH base, which has eroded by 14 percent in purchasing power; the latter, although a 3.2 percent increase, just barely managed to keep pace with the FY2008 biomedical inflation rate of 3.5 percent.

"NIH needs sustained and predictable funding to re-build its base and support multi-year investigator-initiated research grants," said Jorkasky, who added that NEI has lost upwards of 18 percent of its purchasing power over the past six funding cycles. In noting its leadership in the translation of basic research into clinical practice, Jorkasky also acknowledged that NEI will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2009 as the NIH Institute that leads the nationís commitment to save and restore vision. In that regard, NAEVR will seek a Congressional resolution to acknowledge NEIís benefits to patients, as well as to designate 2010-2020 as the Decade of Vision.

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.