NYT Series Addresses Diabetes Funding
The New York Times this week published a two-part series on funding for diabetes research and prevention. Summaries of the articles appear below.
- "Rising Diabetes Threat Meets a Falling Budget": The article examined how federal funding for diabetes research has decreased in the fiscal years 2006 and 2007, a trend that has prompted public health experts nationwide to "become increasingly frustrated and alarmed." In FY 2007, CDC faces a $700,000, or 1%, reduction in the $63 million agency diabetes budget, and NIH faces a 0.1% reduction in the $1.1 billion agency diabetes budget. According to the Times, the federal government currently spends about $1.1 billion for diabetes research -- less that one-fourth of the amount spent for cancer research -- and spends more than 10 times as much per patient on cancer research as on diabetes research. Some health care experts maintain that, from the "the viewpoint of pure economics," the federal government should spend more on diabetes research because the disease costs the U.S. economy about $132 billion annually, the Times reports (Urbina, New York Times, 5/16).
- "Beyond 'I'm Diabetic,' Little Common Ground": The article examined how "it is hard not to notice the outsize fund-raising success" for type 1 diabetes compared with type 2. Although 20 million U.S. residents have type 2 diabetes, and only one million have type 1, funding for the two conditions remains about equal. In the 1970s, parents of children with type 1 diabetes had concerns that the disease was "being lost in the din of the larger problem with the similar name" and established the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, an organization focused on type 1 diabetes. Meanwhile, the American Diabetes Association has continued to focus on both type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Rudolph Leibel, director of research at the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia University, said, "I understand where the separatist attitude of the type 1 people is coming from. But I question whether it's in anyone's best interests" (Perez-Pena, New York Times, 5/17).