By Audrey Quinn
Posting in Government
How the U.S. will lose out to Asia in medical research.
Jeffrey Steinberg was born in the U.S., he received his Ph.D. in the U.S., and even completed his post-doctoral training there. But when it came to to enter the workplace in his field - bioimaging research - Steinberg chose to move to Singapore, where government leaders prioritize medical research in their annual budget.
Steinberg and his co-authors report today in The New England Journal of Medicine that the U.S. is quickly losing out to Asian countries when it comes to health sciences.
The researchers compared health research funding and policies in the U.S. to those in China, India, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan. Each of these Asian countries plans to increase support for medical research as part of their financial strategy.
“In researching this article, we were surprised at how well-developed other countries’ plans are for including medical research and scientific research as part of long-term goals,” says Steinberg's co-author Gordon Sun M.D. of the University of Michigan in a press release. “All of them have a fairly well-defined plan, which is part of their overall efforts to become economic powers. Whereas in the U.S., NIH funding is considered as just another part of the annual budget, and can be cut at any time.”
He adds that the number of clinical trials of new medical ideas in the U.S. is decreasing, while that number in the Asian countries continues to rise. The Asian countries are increasing their medical research budgets, while U.S. researchers hope for the American research budget to at best keep pace with inflation. The press release states:
Sun and his co-authors warn that this trend could lead to long-term economic damage for the United States and the loss of its stature as a global leader in the field. “Powerful incentives that can retain an elite biomedical research workforce are necessary to strengthen the U.S. health care system and economy,” they write.
In light of the recent U.S. presidential campaigns' focus on American exceptionalism, it will be interesting to see if medical research enters the spotlight as a field in which the U.S. can make up for lost ground.
Photo: Walt Stoneburner/Flickr
Aug 23, 2012
Wow...politics being mixed in with a "Smart Planet" article. What a surprise. America cannot possibly lead in everything. The nations you list employ capitalist policies while we get further and further away from them. Government stifles innovation and it certainly is doing that in healthcare. It will get far worse when it shoves a 27,000 page bill (that they didn't read) down our throats and that most of us don't want. Government control is great isn't it ! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/17/dr-jeffrey-steinberg-defe_n_785080.html Is this the same idiot that defended the octomom's decision to get all the babies ?
The sense of inevitability and destiny that accompanies the notion of American exceptionalism just frosts me. Haven't we gotten past the whole idea of Manifest Destiny? I guess not... How sad.
Much of the medical and scientific research done in the U.S. is now funded by the corporatocracy. Grants are given with the expectations of a certain set of results (e.g. "our new designer drug works and isn't harmful"), and the driving force is profit not knowledge. The turn of the 21st century will be remembered as a time when the duties of our government were all outsourced to the highest bidder (or highest briber). We see it now from our military to our prisons, and the result is a military that encourages war and a prison system that breeds incarceration. And all this neocon talk about the bugaboo of "big government" means it can only get worse. They have their sights set on education next.
You communist pinko atheist liberal!! USA, USA, USA, USA,.... Just joking! Seriously, though, we have the world's biggest economy and are one of the richest nations in the world. I don't think it is exceptionalism to expect the USA to lead the world in most fields. It is just economics. Of course, the rest of the world is collectively bigger than the USA, so we ought to keep that in mind. But people are afraid that the USA is getting complacent, thinking we should automatically be the best just because we're the USA, without spending the money or making any sacrifices. Now THAT is exceptionalism (and stupid).