The US Department of Defense funds $1.7 billion in medical research efforts, including significant infectious disease-related research in antimicrobial resistance, HIV infection, tuberculosis, influenza, vaccine development and hepatitis B and C, among others. Provisions in a new Senate bill that renews defense programs for the next fiscal year, however, would place dramatic restrictions on all medical research, requiring the Secretary of Defense to certify that any research activity directly benefit active duty service members. IDSA’s concern is that the bill’s narrow interpretation and new administrative requirement could actually severely limit ID research that is important to our troops, particularly given the rapidly evolving and spreading nature of infectious diseases. The provisions also would subject much of the funded research to onerous auditing and contracting requirements that are now reserved for major defense contractors.
Senators Durbin (D-IL) and Cochran (R-MS) are leading a bipartisan effort to eliminate these restrictions through an amendment to the bill to be offered the week of June 6 – when the bill will be considered by the full Senate.
Congress will be paying close attention the views of their constituents on this issue and others. Take a few minutes today to let your Senators know you support maintaining a strong medical research portfolio at the Department of Defense unencumbered by rigid definitions and bureaucratic obstacles.
Here’s what you can do:
- Call the Capitol Hill switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to speak with your Senator’s office. Ask your Senators to cosponsor the Durbin/Cochran amendment to the Defense bill – Amendment 4369. If your Senators are already cosponsors, let their offices know it is appreciated.
- Send an email from the IDSA/HIVMA advocacy center to your Senators.
- Engage in social media championing the value of ID research at the Department of Defense by using the hashtag #ResearchNotRedTape
- Write a letter to your local paper about the importance of ID medical research at the Department of Defense in protecting military personnel and advancing national security goals