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May 1, 2018

As White House seeks big cuts in global health research, new state-by-state analysis shows US government investment brings jobs, health security to states while saving millions of lives worldwide

The Trump Administration’s proposal to slash funding to fight global health threats like malaria, Ebola, and HIV/AIDS could cost states thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in economic investment and put the health of residents at risk, according to a new state-by-state analysis released today on Capitol Hill by the Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC). This first-of-its-kind analysis quantifies how federal funding to create vaccines and treatments to combat deadly global diseases also benefits American states.

“While the Administration claims cuts to global health research are putting America first, the data suggest otherwise,” said GHTC Director Jamie Bay Nishi. “US funding for global health research is not only saving lives worldwide, it’s also paying significant economic and health dividends across American states.”

According to the analysis, US investments in global health research and development (R&D) from 2007 to 2015 generated considerable economic benefits for individual states—creating jobs and injecting millions of dollars into local economies. For example, in Maryland alone, US-funded global health research contributed US$2.5 billion to the state’s economy and created more than 30,700 jobs for its residents. Similarly, Georgia has these investments to thank for 5,800 local jobs and $349 million to its economy.

The analysis also underscores the dangers of ignoring neglected diseases in an increasingly interconnected world by enumerating how these diseases—assumed by many to only afflict the world’s poorest—also affect individuals across every state. The state-by-state analysis includes data on well-known diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, and Zika; but also lesser-known threats like dengue and chikungunya, which many do not realize have been locally transmitted in the United States. For example, Florida has seen 779 cases of dengue since 2010, including a local outbreak in 2009–2010 that sickened 88 people, as well as 1,216 cases of Zika since 2015, including 220 cases from local mosquito transmission.

In addition to reporting the overall economic impact to each state of federal funding for global health R&D, the new analysis also documents how local universities and research institutions are benefiting from these investments and identifies private-sector companies within each state that are working to advance new innovations to combat long-standing and emerging global health challenges.

Global and national benefits of global health R&D

This state-by-state analysis builds upon a report released last year by GHTC and the health-oriented think tank, Policy Cures Research. The report, Return on innovation: Why global health R&D is a smart investment for the United States, examined the national and global impact of US spending on global health R&D. It found that from 2007 to 2015 alone, $14 billion in US government investments in global health innovations contributed to the advancement of numerous new technologies to combat dangerous global diseases, while also creating 200,000 new American jobs and generating $33 billion in US economic growth.

The Return on innovation report revealed that while this spending may be directed at solving global health challenges, most of the money—89 cents of every dollar—stays in the United States, funding researchers and stimulating industry investments.

Public funding for global health R&D under increased threat

Despite the increase of health threats and the strong returns both at home and abroad from these investments, US government spending for global health R&D has been unreliable. According to the G-FINDER report, which tracks global funding for R&D for neglected diseases, outside the emergency allocation for the Ebola response, US public investment has been on the decline since 2012. While 2016 saw a modest uptick, investment remained $178 million below 2012 levels. Now, President Trump is proposing further deep cuts across the government’s global health and medical research portfolio for fiscal year (FY) 2019 and exploring ways to roll back prior years’ spending through presidential rescissions, which could target these same programs, though details remain unclear.

Specifically, in its FY19 budget proposal, the Administration has called for a 36 percent cut, over FY18 enacted levels, to global health programs at the US Agency for International Development, which fund vital research to develop new health innovations for vulnerable communities worldwide. The Centers for Disease Control could see a 17 percent cut to the National Center for Emerging and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases, which develops tools to detect and fight deadly diseases abroad before they reach American shores, as well as a 16 percent cut in funding for its global health programs responsible for conducting critical disease surveillance and immunization activities. The budget also includes a 9 percent decrease to the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which funds important research on infectious disease threats like malaria, HIV/AIDS, and Zika.

“We hope Congressional policymakers will see the wisdom to reject these dangerous cuts,” said Nishi. “Slashing funding for global health research will not only mark a retreat from America’s humanitarian and moral leadership in the world; it will also put the health of US citizens at risk and harm the economies of states.”

Top 10 states benefiting from global health R&D investments

Based on federal funding for global health R&D invested in state from 2007 to 2015 and jobs created as a result.

View data for all states on GHTC’s online data tool: http://www.ghtcoalition.org/in-your-state

About the Global Health Technologies Coalition

The Global Health Technologies Coalition (GHTC) works to save and improve lives by encouraging the research and development of essential health technologies. We bring together 30 nonprofit organizations, academic institutions, and aligned businesses to advance policies to accelerate the creation of new drugs, vaccines, diagnostics, and other tools that bring healthy lives within reach for all people. 

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