Ensuring robust funding for biomedical research is one of MDA’s top policy priorities because it is key to finding treatments and cures for neuromuscular diseases. While the National Institutes of Health (NIH) is the largest funding source of biomedical research in the United States, a smaller yet important source for research funding is the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) at the Department of Defense (DoD). The DoD funds programs that conduct critical research on multiple disorders including Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), and spinal muscular atrophy (SMA).
The Senate will soon begin consideration of the S. 1519, National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which includes provisions that severely restrict, and in some cases terminate, critical medical research by DoD through the CDMRP. Specifically, the bill:
- Adds an additional level of bureaucratic review and delays by requiring a certification of military applicability for all research grants and further delays the grant by adding an additional 90 days after the certification to the Armed Services Committee.
- Imposes the type of red tape on the administration of a grant contract that would be involved in building large weapons systems, even though many of the grants administered by the CDMRP are less than $1 million.
- Restricts intellectual property produced by the research.
However, Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL) is sponsoring a bipartisan amendment in conjunction with Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO) to nullify the problematic provisions related to medical research.
Please join us in taking action and urging your Senators to support the bipartisan amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that will ensure funding for biomedical research continues.