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Feb 9, 2007

Continued Flat Funding for the NIH

  • The fiscal year (FY) 2008 President’s budget for the NIH comes in practically flat at almost $28.9 billion. This represents a 0.8% increase of $232 million over the FY 2007 estimate. The FY 2006 budget was almost $28.3 billion.

    About $201 million will go toward the Global Fund for HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, leaving the actual increase in the NIH budget at $31 million or 0.1%.

    Congress will begin hearings on the new budget request even though the current fiscal year budget remains unfixed. Lawmakers last year failed to pass fiscal 2007 budgets for NIH and most other agencies. They were thus left to operate at Fiscal 2006 levels under a continuing resolution, which expires February 15.

    Some believe, according to revisions currently in the Senate, that Congress will finally approve over $29 billion for FY 2007. In that case, the President’s FY 2008 budget will be over $500 million less.

    The administration's request for NIH includes $28.7 billion in congressional appropriations and $158 million in transfers for mandated diabetes and public health research. More than half the funds—$15.2 billion, or 53%—would support research project grants and small business awards.

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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

Do you agree that ecstasy should be studied for its potential therapeutic benefits?

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