WHEREAS, The Udall Bill is a legislative initiative that would increase the federal commitment to Parkinson's research administered by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The legislation would increase support for Parkinson's research by $100 million and establish a coordinated program to support research projects deemed most promising; and
WHEREAS, Parkinson's Disease and related disorders affect as many as 1.5 million Americans, with costs to society of nearly $6 billion annually. Recent congressional testimony by researchers and medical experts, however, place the real cost of the disease to society at about $26 billion annually. To date the federal Parkinson's research effort has been grossly underfunded; and
WHEREAS, In order to take full advantage of the tremendous potential for finding a cure or effective treatment, the federal investment in Parkinson's Disease must be expanded, and the coordination strengthened among the NIH research institutes; and
WHEREAS, Researchers know more about Parkinson's Disease than any other neurological disease or disorder, but they lack the proper funding to advance their research. Several major research advances (neural cell transplantation, neural growth factors, and genetic engineering of cells) leave Parkinson's Disease on the brink of a major breakthrough, but without adequate research support and a coordinated research effort, effective treatments and a possible cure will sit on the shelves; and
WHEREAS, The federal government currently spends $26 per Parkinson's Disease patient compared to $49 for patients suffering from Alzheimer's Disease, $132 for Multiple Sclerosis, $305 for cancer, and $783 for AIDS; and
WHEREAS, That current budget stalemate affecting all federal spending has stalled the 1996 NIH budget, and could jeopardize the first significant increase in funding for Parkinson's Disease research. If this deadlock is not resolved, Congress might decide to fund all health programs, including the NIH, at 1995 levels. That would be a setback for biomedical research, and would likely destroy prospects for salvaging the $8 million neurodegenerative research initiative found in the Senate version of the legislation. This must not be allowed to happen; now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That this House of Representatives of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations hereby memorializes Congress to pass the "Morris K. Udall Parkinson's Research Assistance, and Education Act of 1995", approving the highest funding level possible for the NIH and supporting the special $8 million neurodegenerative research initiative; and be it further
RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he hereby is authorized and directed to transmit duly certified copies of this resolution to the members of the Rhode Island delegation in the United States Congress.