Sen. Corzine Reintroduces Legislation To Provide Additional Federal Funds for Microbicide Research
Sen. Jon Corzine (D-N.J.) yesterday reintroduced bipartisan legislation that would increase federal funding for microbicide research, expedite NIH's five-year plan for such research and create a Microbicide Research and Development Branch within the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, according to a Corzine release. The Microbicides Development Act of 2003 would increase funds at the CDC, the NIH and the United States Agency for International Development for the development of microbicidal products, which could be used to reduce the transmission risk of HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Currently, $75 million per year is allocated for all areas of microbicide research, while the cost of developing "the existing pipeline of candidate products" is estimated to cost $775 million over five years, according to the release. Corzine said that the legislation would help "realize the promise of microbicides" to combat HIV/AIDS and other STDs in women, who are four times more likely than men to contract HIV if exposed to the virus. "[F]or too many women, particularly low-income women in the developing world and many in our own country who rely upon a male partner for economic support, there is no power of negotiation. We know these women are at risk -- yet, we don't give them the tools they need to protect themselves," Corzine said. In addition, the creation of a specific microbicide development branch within the NIH, along with more funds, would allow the agencies to create and implement a federal coordination plan of their research efforts, a plan that has been "repeatedly delayed," according to the release. The bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), Gordon Smith (R-Ore.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) (Corzine release, 4/10). Corzine in November 2001 introduced the Microbicides Development Act of 2002. A similar bill was introduced in June 2001 in the House by Rep. Connie Morella (R-Md.) (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 11/30/01).This is part of the Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.