Government institutions, universities and a mixture of private industry organizations currently fund all research on uterine fibroids and diseases of the female reproductive system.
A report released by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists in May 2001 entitled "Facts and Figures: A Closer Look at Women's Health Research," examined the National Institutes of Health research budget from 1993 through 2001. This report revealed some startling statistics that clearly point to the lack of appropriate research funding for the disease of uterine fibroids. Current NIH funding for endometriosis and uterine fibroids COMBINED for fiscal year 2001 is set at only ~3 million dollars. Worse yet, this actually represents a 335% increase in funding since 1993.
Although the issue of reducing the horrific unnecessary hysterectomy statistics has been in the public forefront as a critical health concern for nearly 20 years now, the dollars allocated to actually address this issue do not reflect the level of concern expressed by consumers, physicians, researchers, government representatives, etc. in the media or the medical literature.
Fibroids symptomatically impact ~25% of the female population but the funding to research this disease reflects only a tear drop in the bottom of a rain barrel.
To compare and clarify this inadequate funding problem, the following FY 2001 funding levels were also reported by ACOG:
Osteoporosis: ~125 million
Female Reproductive Physiology: ~85 million
Women's Health Initiative: ~62 million
Contraceptives: ~27 million
Hormone Replacement Therapy: ~23.5 million
Menopause: ~21 million
Urinary Incontinence: ~6 million
Infertility: ~5 million
The NIH women's health research agenda is developed by the Office of Research on Women's Health (ORWH). This agenda is developed in collaboration with scientific advisory committees, the scientific community at large, and through conferences and workshops. Only through voicing our concerns about current funding levels for fibroid research will the issue of uterine fibroids come to the attention of those in charge of developing the annual NIH research agenda.
Please join us in sending a message, loud and clear, to the ORWH by writing to the director in charge of this division of the NIH. Send your letters requesting an increase in fibroid research funding to:
W. Pinn, M.D.