Investment in medical and health R&D not keeping up with needs of nation

December 18, 2019

ARLINGTON, Va.--December 18, 2019 -- Total U.S. investment in medical and health research and development (R&D) grew by 6.4% from 2017 to 2018, reaching $194.2 billion. For the third straight year, the growth-rate of medical and health R&D investment outpaced the growth-rate of overall health spending. However, R&D spending still represents only about 5 cents of every health dollar spent. This is one of the key findings of the just-released 2019 U.S. Investments in Medical and Health Research and Development, a new report from Research!America.

The Investment Report shows growth in investment across every sector over the last six years, with industry growth leading at $36.5 billion, followed by the federal government at $9.1 billion.

"This growth in R&D investment is positive and welcome, certainly," said Research!America's Chair, the Honorable Michael N. Castle. "However, our nation's total investment is not tracking with disease burden. Increased investment in medical and health R&D is essential to ending diseases that are taking time and quality of life from Americans and people across the globe."

Every year, almost 130,000 people in the United States die by the age of 45 due to health threats that a larger investment in R&D can help us better understand and ultimately prevent. Further, major chronic diseases cost our nation more than $1.1 trillion in 2018, which is almost six times the amount all sectors spend on R&D.

In 2018, total U.S. medical and health R&D investment was $194.2 billion. Of that:"Increased investment across all sectors contributing to R&D is the right path for our nation, but relative to unmet medical needs, we are walking, rather than running down that path," said Mary Woolley, president and CEO, Research!America. "Federal funding and policies need to be aligned behind the objective of empowering both public sector and private sector-driven research, because research saves lives."

The full report breaks down research investments sector by sector.

The data for U.S. medical and health R&D investment were developed by TEConomy Partners, LLC ( under contract to Research!America. View the full report here.
About Research!America

The Research!America alliance advocates for science, discovery, and innovation to achieve better health for all. Visit


Related Health Articles from Brightsurf:

The mental health impact of pandemics for front line health care staff
New research shows the impact that pandemics have on the mental health of front-line health care staff.

Modifiable health risks linked to more than $730 billion in US health care costs
Modifiable health risks, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and smoking, were linked to over $730 billion in health care spending in the US in 2016, according to a study published in The Lancet Public Health.

New measure of social determinants of health may improve cardiovascular health assessment
The authors of this study developed a single risk score derived from multiple social determinants of health that predicts county-level cardiovascular disease mortality.

BU study: High deductible health plans are widening racial health gaps
The growing Black Lives Matter movement has brought more attention to the myriad structures that reinforce racial inequities, in everything from policing to hiring to maternal mortality.

Electronic health information exchange improves public health disease reporting
Disease tracking is an important area of focus for health departments in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

E-health resource improves men's health behaviours with or without fitness facilities
Men who regularly used a free web resource made significantly more health changes than men who did not, finds a new study from the University of British Columbia and Intensions Consulting.

Mental health outcomes among health care workers during COVID-19 pandemic in Italy
Symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and insomnia among health care workers in Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic are reported in this observational study.

Mental health of health care workers in china in hospitals with patients with COVID-19
This survey study of almost 1,300 health care workers in China at 34 hospitals equipped with fever clinics or wards for patients with COVID-19 reports on their mental health outcomes, including symptoms of depression, anxiety, insomnia and distress.

Health records pin broad set of health risks on genetic premutation
Researchers from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Marshfield Clinic have found that there may be a much broader health risk to carriers of the FMR1 premutation, with potentially dozens of clinical conditions that can be ascribed directly to carrying it.

Attitudes about health affect how older adults engage with negative health news
To get older adults to pay attention to important health information, preface it with the good news about their health.

Read More: Health News and Health Current Events is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to