April 1999 Bulletin

NIH initiates new programs to aid clinical research

The National Institutes of Health has initiated a number of new programs to reverse a situation in which clinical research is perceived to be under siege and perhaps even in decline, Harold E. Varmus, MD, director, National Institutes of Health, told congressional committees in February.

In presentations to House and Senate appropriations subcommittees on the President's budget request for the NIH, Dr. Varmus said the NIH has "initiated several new training and career development programs for clinical investigators; intensified our clinical trials activities, including the establishment of clinical trials networks; augmented funding of the General Clinical Research Centers and created other Centers for clinical research on diseases such as asthma, Parkinson's Disease and mental illness." NIH also has taken steps to strengthen clinical research in the intramural program, including continued construction of the new Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center; and developed an NIH clinical trials database.

The President's budget for fiscal year 2000 proposes $15.933 billion for NIH, an increase of $320 million, or 2.1 percent more than the amount appropriated for fiscal year 1999. NIH received $2.030 billion in fiscal year 1999 or 15 percent more than a year earlier. The new proposed budget allocation will "bring us to just above the level outlined last year in the President's plan to increase the NIH budget by 50 percent over five years," Dr. Varmus said.

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