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  • Washington Highlights

    Community Urges Senators to Support Medical Research Amendment in NDAA

    Tannaz Rasouli, Sr. Director, Public Policy & Strategic Outreach

    The AAMC July 27 joined over 100 organizations on a letter expressing support for a research-related bipartisan amendment to the fiscal year (FY) 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA, S. 1519).

    Sponsored by Senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), the amendment would nullify NDAA provisions that would restrict medical research supported by the Department of Defense (DOD). The bill currently contains language that would prohibit funding for medical research by DOD unless such research meets specific defined criteria. The bill also would add extensive acquisition compliance and additional auditing requirements on the DOD medical research program.

    The group letter, sent to Senate Armed Services Committee Chair John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Ranking Member Jack Reed (D-R.I.), expresses concern with the NDAA saying research provisions in the bill would have “the effect of severely restricting, and in some cases terminating, critical medical research programs funded by the DOD” and calls the additional acquisition compliance and auditing requirements “unnecessary” and “burdensome red-tape.” Additionally, the letter underscores the point that “this language could jeopardize funding for research activities that have broader relevance to the U.S. military, including the health and well-being of military families and veterans, and the efficiency of the military health care system.”

    The letter also highlights that “medical research programs at DOD directly impact the health and lives of the U.S. military, including combat veterans and their families” including programs that carry out research on cancer, rare disorders, and infectious diseases. Emphasizing the impact of investments in research at DOD, the letter cites breakthroughs on nerve regeneration and traumatic brain injury (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), stating that “research that has impacted our newest wounded warriors.”

    The Senate Armed Services Committee reported out the bill on July 10. The full Senate is expected to take action on this legislation in the near future.