Trump budget proposal cuts NIH research, retains border wall plan

President Trump’s latest budget proposal retains a controversial $8.6 billion request for a border wall with Mexico, while calling for swingeing cuts into government-sponsored National Institutes of Health research including cancer.

The latest 2020 budget proposal from Trump also outlines a substantial funding increase for the FDA – although commentators are already saying that the plan faces almost certain rejection from Democrats controlling the US House of Representatives.

Trump has allocated $34.5 billion for the NIH, a cut of between $4.5 and $6 billion compared with the current financial year.

Within the NIH, the National Cancer Institute is to have $900 million cut from its budget of $5.2 billion, while the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID) will see $750 million cut from its $4.75 billion allocation.

Meanwhile the changes proposed at the FDA in the document entitled ‘A Budget for a Better America’ tighten up regulations on generics manufacturers in order to improve competition for off-patent drugs and lower prices.

Under existing rules generics firms that are first to market have been able to limit competition by getting tentative approval for their drugs, and then delaying seeking final approval so they don’t trigger a 180-day exclusivity period.

This tactic leads to longer delays before other generic competitors can hit the market, potentially lowering prices further and increasing competition.

Other proposals include closing a loophole where companies whose generic applications fail, can avoid forfeiting their 180-day exclusivity period.

Some companies have been able to get round this by claiming failure was due to changes to requirements for approval imposed after the date on which the application was filed.

Medicare and Medicaid cuts

The budget also calls for major reductions in spending on Medicare and Medicaid – something Trump promised not to do as a candidate in the run-up to the 2016 elections.

The proposal would shave around $800 billion or more off Medicare over a decade, and would see Medicaid insuring low-income Americans by more than $200 billion.

Medicaid cuts will be replaced by block grants to states – but critics say this would amount to cuts in services as states would be expected to fund spending over-runs from their own budgets.

Trump’s proposals met with immediate criticism from the host of candidates for the Democratic presidential nomination.




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