Dec. 17, 2011

Lupus Foundation of America Applauds Congress for Funding Vital Lupus Research/Education Initiatives

December 17, 2011

(Washington, DC) The Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) applauds Congress for including vital lupus funding in the Fiscal Year 2012 Omnibus Appropriations Bill, which passed today, Saturday, December 17. The Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012, includes $50 million for the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP) at the Department of Defense; $1 million to continue the national health education program on lupus for health care providers through the Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health; and more than $4 million for the National Lupus Patient Registry conducted through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Lupus continues to be one of the disease research areas that qualify for funding under the PRMRP Program, which consists of $50 million that has been appropriated for PRMRP in 2012. This will enable funding of additional critically-needed studies on lupus. Through its advocacy initiatives that began in 2003, the LFA pioneered efforts to have lupus included as a disease area eligible for research funding through the PRMRP. The LFA has continued to demonstrate to Congress the relevance of lupus research to military personnel and their dependents. To date, $11.8 million has been awarded to lupus research by PRMRP as a result of these efforts.

The legislation includes $4 million included for the National Lupus Patient Registry, bringing the total funding to $18.5 million for the study. In 2003, the LFA worked with Congress to establish the National Lupus Patient Registry, designed to more accurately estimate the prevalence and incidence of lupus in the United States. The National Lupus Patient Registry will help us better understand and measure the burden of illness, the social and economic impact of the disease, and to stimulate additional private investment by industry in the development of new, safe, tolerable and effective therapies – and eventually a cure – for lupus.

In 2006, the LFA secured Congressional support for the Lupus Research, Education, Awareness, Communications and Healthcare (REACH) Act. Among its provisions, the legislation called for funding programs to improve health professional education. The legislation provides $1 million to for the national health provider education program on lupus, bringing the program total to $4.6 million since 2009. The education program addresses a key goal for the LFA’s advocacy efforts, to improve early diagnosis and treatment of lupus.

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