American Pain Society Urges Congress to Oppose Steep Budget Cuts for National Institutes of Health

Newswise — CHICAGO, March 31, 2017 – The American Pain Society (APS),, today condemned the Trump Administration’s proposed 19 percent cut in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and warned that such a draconian budget reduction would devastate biomedical research in the United States unless Congress acted to prevent it.

“It has taken decades to expose pain as a serious public health problem and a national research priority,” said APS President David Williams, PhD, professor of anesthesiology and psychology at the University of Michigan. Last year, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the National Pain Strategy serving as a blueprint for addressing the problem of pain in the United States. Later this year, the Federal Pain Research Strategy will be announced as a plan to fill crucial gaps in pain research. “A huge cut to the NIH budget will destroy this momentum, which would impact the millions of Americans who suffer with pain,” said Williams.

“NIH is the foundation of the biotech industry in the United States, and agency funding creates jobs and leads to new discoveries and innovations that make a difference in people’s lives,” said Theodore Price, PhD, an APS director, biotechnology entrepreneur and professor of neuroscience at University of Texas Dallas. “This action will decimate biomedical research in the United States and tear down our international standing as the leader in biotech.

“Pain research often focuses on mechanisms and on discovery of new treatments. We need new treatments that bring better relief while also reducing the problems associated with opioids,” said Williams. “The proposed budget cut would not only threaten pain research but would hurt America’s universities and medical schools, which also depend on receiving NIH funds.

“My greatest concern is the impact this has on our early career investigators and physician scientists,” said APS Director Jennifer Haythornthwaite, PhD, professor of psychology at Johns Hopkins University. “We already are facing numerous challenges in keeping these early career trainees and faculty engaged in developing productive academic careers, and the cuts to the NIH budget will increase these challenges substantially, further demoralizing and threatening the strength of our academic institutions.”

APS has petitioned its members to contact their representatives in Congress are urge them to reject the president’s NIH budget cuts. “We in the pain care community must not be complacent in fighting this existential threat to the health and wellness of our nation’s population,” said Williams. “NIH and biomedical research have been the beneficiaries of strong bipartisan support in Congress and that must continue.”

About the American Pain Society Based in Chicago, the American Pain Society (APS) is a multidisciplinary community that brings together a diverse group of scientists, clinicians and other professionals to increase the knowledge of pain and transform public policy and clinical practice to reduce pain-related suffering. APS is the professional home for investigators involved in all aspects of pain research including basic, translational, clinical and health services research to obtain the support and inspiration they need to flourish professionally.  APS strongly advocates expansion of high quality pain research to help advance science to achieve effective and responsible pain relief. For more information on APS, visit