05 February 2010

Bad news in the President's budget request

It's been a few days since the rollout of the White House's proposed 2011 budget request, time enough for people to dig deep into the minutiae and figure out what that massive document really says. The Infectious Diseases Society of America has done the drilling for the health and infectious disease line items, and I'm sorry to say the news is not good.

Worst first: The proposed budget would cut funding for the CDC's antimicrobial resistance programs by 50%, $8.6 million. That means that only 20 state or local health departments, or health care institutions, will get money from CDC for surveillance and control of resistant bugs. That's only 40% of what was funded this year, when 48 health departments and health systems were funded. Which is very disturbing: If there's one thing almost everyone agrees on with regard to MRSA, it's that we need more surveillance, not less.

In addition, all state grants in the Get Smart About Antibiotics program, which runs campaigns to reduce inappropriate use, get zeroed out.

There are other cuts as well to infectious-disease program at CDC and elsewhere in HHS, including to to a major childhood immunization program and to pandemic defenses. And funding for HIV/AIDS, TB and other NIH research programs barely tiptoe upward.But these frank cuts in programs to combat antimicrobial resistance, at a time when MRSA is burgeoning, Gram negative organisms such as Acinetobacter are gaining ground, and drug development is stalling, surely cannot be smart.

The IDSA analyis is here.

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