Research Proposal for next Congressional COVID-19 Relief Legislation


By Maddie Mason, Senior Associate, Policy

Research that is funded through nonprofit organizations, voluntary health associations (VHAs), science societies, and foundations has been stalled or cut-off due to the economic burden and constraints caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The National Health Council (NHC), along with other patient organizations, has been meeting with Congressional leaders, asking them to include $2 billion dollars in the next COVID-19 relief package for this stalled research. This funding would be a one-time initiative to support lost or stalled research due to the impact of COVID-19 on lab access restrictions and the new financial reality of many funding entities.

The non-profit and VHA community is gravely concerned that America’s research pipeline will be negatively impacted if financial support isn’t specifically allotted to ensure labs have the resources necessary to carry on. Nonprofit and VHA-funded research plays a critical role in drug research and development in the United States. According to a study by Research!America, this source is the fourth largest contributor for U.S. medical and health research and development expenditures and sponsors thousands of early and mid-career scientists and researchers each year. Health Research Alliance reported that this sector of the research community invests at least $6-7 billion each year to advance biomedical research and disease knowledge, translate biomedical research into novel therapies, and supports early and mid-level scientists to ensure a robust scientific workforce[1].

Many organizations that are critical to funding this research have experienced a loss in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which will limit their abilities to fund vital programs, hindering the completion of ongoing clinical trials and halting the development of new drugs. The NHC and our fellow patient advocacy groups wrote a letter to Congressional leaders outlining our concerns, and we will continue to work alongside them to advocate for COVID-19 relief money to be specifically allocated towards research relief, ensuring this important research continues.

[1] Health Research Alliance. HRA Analyzer.