WASHINGTON, March 21, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Sandra C. Raymond, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Lupus Foundation of America has issued the following statement regarding the passage today of legislation that funds federal government operations through the end of the fiscal year:
"The Lupus Foundation of America applauds Congress for funding vital lupus research and education programs by passing The Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act (H.R. 933), which funds federal government operations until September 30, 2013.
"The Act provides funding for several important lupus initiatives advocated by the Lupus Foundation of America, such as:
- a $71 million increase for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) above the FY 2012 funding level of approximately $30.9 billion;
- $4.4 million for the National Lupus Patient Registry (the lupus epidemiology project) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC);
- $50 million for the Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program (PRMRP) at the Department of Defense, of which lupus is one of the diseases eligible for funding; and,
- $1 million for The Lupus Initiative at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health (OMH).
"Federal funding for lupus research and education programs are important to helping solve the cruel mystery of lupus. This bill will ensure that basic, clinical and translational research efforts on lupus will continue uninterrupted, including efforts to better understand the impact of lupus and provide a more accurate measure of the number of people living with lupus in the United States. Funding also will help our nation's healthcare providers improve lupus diagnosis, treatment and disease management.
"While the legislation provides funding for lupus programs across the federal government, many federal programs are still subject to the across-the-board cuts required by the sequester. The NIH, CDC and OMH programs are subject to a 5 percent cut, and the PRMRP is subject to a 7.8 percent cut. Even with the increases, after the sequester is applied the NIH will be funded at approximate $29.4 billion in FY 2013, resulting in an overall decrease from the FY 2012 funding level.
"Without sufficient funding for the NIH and other federal agencies, research studies to find the causes of lupus and discover new, more tolerable and effective treatments for lupus will be delayed, and the search for cures will be seriously impaired. Lupus research remains underfunded relative to the disease's scope and devastation.
"The Lupus Foundation of America and its nationwide network of thousands of lupus activists will continue working tirelessly to ensure lupus research and the NIH obtains the funding it needs to solve the mystery of this unpredictable and misunderstood disease. I urge everyone to join our efforts by signing our petition to Members of Congress asking them to provide more funds to expand urgently needed lupus research at NIH.
"While we are pleased at the progress that has been made in advancing the science and medicine of lupus, lupus is a very complex disease. Much work remains to better understand the causes and progression of lupus, develop a full arsenal of treatments, and ultimately find ways to prevent and cure this devastating disease."
About the Lupus Foundation of America
The Lupus Foundation of America is the only national force devoted to solving the mystery of lupus, one of the world's cruelest, most unpredictable, and devastating diseases, while giving caring support to those who suffer from its brutal impact. Through a comprehensive program of research, education, and advocacy, we lead the fight to improve the quality of life for all people affected by lupus.
Lupus is an unpredictable and misunderstood autoimmune disease that ravages different parts of the body. It is difficult to diagnose, hard to live with, and a challenge to treat. Lupus is a cruel mystery because it is hidden from view and undefined, has a range of symptoms, strikes without warning, and has no known cause and no known cure. Its health effects can range from a skin rash to a heart attack. Lupus is debilitating and destructive and can be fatal, yet research on lupus remains underfunded relative to its scope and devastation.
For more information about lupus and our efforts to help solve the cruel mystery, visit lupus.org.
SOURCE Lupus Foundation of America