Mar. 21, 2013

LFA Applauds Congress for Passing The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act

(March 21, 2013)  Sandra C. Raymond, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA), has issued the following statement regarding this Bill:

The Lupus Foundation of America applauds Congress for funding vital lupus research and education programs by passing The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act (H.R. 933), which funds federal government operations until September 30, 2013.

The Act provides funding for several important lupus initiatives advocated by the Lupus Foundation of America, such as: 

  •    $71 million increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) above the FY 2012 funding level of approximately $30.9 billion;
  •    $4.4 million for the National Lupus Patient Registry (the lupus epidemiology project) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC);
  •    $50 million for the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP) at the Department of Defense, of which lupus is one of the diseases eligible for funding; and,
  •    $1 million for The Lupus Initiative at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH).

Federal funding for lupus research and education programs are important to helping solve the cruel mystery of lupus.  This bill will ensure that basic, clinical and translational research efforts on lupus will continue uninterrupted, including efforts to better understand the impact of lupus and provide a more accurate measure of the number of people living with lupus in the United States.  Funding also will help our nation’s healthcare providers improve lupus diagnosis, treatment and disease management.

While the legislation provides funding for lupus programs across the federal government, many federal programs are still subject to the across-the-board cuts required by the sequester.  The NIH, CDC and OMH programs are subject to a 5 percent cut, and the PRMRP is subject to a 7.8 percent cut.  Even with the increases, after the sequester is applied the NIH will be funded at approximate $29.4 billion in FY 2013, resulting in an overall decrease from the FY 2012 funding level.   

Without sufficient funding for the NIH and other federal agencies, research studies to find the causes of lupus and discovery of new, more tolerable and effective treatments for lupus will be delayed, and the search for cures will be seriously impaired.   Lupus research remains underfunded relative to the disease’s scope and devastation.  The Lupus Foundation of America and its nationwide network of thousands of lupus activists will continue working tirelessly to ensure lupus research and the NIH obtains the funding it needs to solve the mystery of this unpredictable and misunderstood disease.  I urge everyone to join our efforts by signing our petition to Members of Congress asking them to provide more funds to expand urgently needed lupus research at NIH. 

While we are pleased at the progress that has been made in advancing the science and medicine of lupus, lupus is a very complex disease.  Much work remains to better understand the causes and progression of lupus, develop a full arsenal of treatments, and ultimately find ways to prevent and cure this devastating disease. 

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