NIH Funding Often Does Not Match Disease Burden for Dermatologic Conditions

June 9, 2015

A new analysis of funding prioritization by the National Institutes of Health for skin disease offers a glimpse of cutaneous skin disease on a national level, with some disease states being possibly underfunded. Examining the relationship between dermatologic research funding and skin disease burden, investigators analyzed data from 2012 to 2013 by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and how it measured up against the burden of disease, as measured by disability-adjusted life years in the Global Burden of Disease 2010 study (J Am Acad Dermatol. 2015 Jun 4). The cross-sectional analysis yielded 1,108 projects funded by the NIH, spannding 15 skin conditions.

Melanoma received almost half of the total skin condition budget. Melanoma, non-melanoma skin cancer, and leprosy were funded above what would be suggested by their disease burden, whereas dermatitis, acne vulgaris, pruritus, urticaria, decubitus ulcer, fungal skin diseases, alopecia areata, cellulitis, and scabies appeared underfunded, according to the findings. Bacterial skin diseases, viral skin diseases, and psoriasis were well matched with disease burden.

Despite some partial correlations between disease burden and NIH funding prioritization, the investigators concluded that the balance of funding may across the spectrum of skin disease may not accurately represent the burden of disease these conditions encompass.

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