New poll shows New York voters support global health research but unsure where it is conducted

April 9, 2012, Research!America

New York voters recognize the importance of global health research and are concerned about the United States' ability to compete globally, according to a new poll commissioned by Research!America, yet an overwhelming majority (93%) of those polled don't know where global health research is conducted in their own state.

The majority of New Yorkers (64%) think that New York residents should be concerned about and an additional 63% believe that spending money on global health is important to their state's economy. However, poll results indicate a lack of awareness about where this research takes place.

"New Yorkers value global health research as a means of protecting us all from diseases that invariably cross borders, and as an important component of the state's thriving biosciences sector," said Research!America Chair and former Congressman John Edward Porter. "As home to highly successful pharmaceutical companies and innovative global health product development partnerships, New York is in a unique position to increase investment in global health research and help maintain our world leadership in research and innovation."

Results of the New York state poll will be announced today at the public forum, Global Health Research and Development in New York: Fueling Innovation and Saving Lives to be held at the New York Academy of Sciences in New York. U.S. Rep. Nita M. Lowey (D-NY-18th District) will provide opening remarks. A new fact sheet notes that New York City alone has the largest bioscience workforce and the second largest life sciences workforce of any U.S. city, employing a combined 80,000 people at an average wage of $75,700.

Global health research facilitates the diagnosis, prevention, treatment and cure of diseases such as malaria, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis (TB) that disproportionately affect developing countries. "Innovative research and development holds the potential to save lives and improve health at home and abroad," said Congresswoman Nita Lowey. "Federal support for R&D plays a critical role in creating jobs and growing the economy right here in New York. I am thrilled to stand with Research!America in support of one of New York's most important and beneficial industries."

New York's research and development commitment is exemplified by the new applied sciences campus championed by Governor Bloomberg and developed through a partnership between Cornell University and Technion. The new campus is expected to generate nearly 600 spin-off companies, 38,000 permanent jobs, $23 billion in economic activity and $1.4 billion in tax revenue.

"Research and development, whether focused on global infectious diseases or chronic illnesses prevalent in the United States, brings abundant health and economic benefits to New York," said Mary Woolley, president and CEO of Research!America.

In the last 10-15 years, over 20 New York organizations with a stake in global health R&D have either been created or have expanded their mandate and added locations, centers or projects. "It's surprising that New Yorkers aren't aware of the many fine institutions, businesses, and organizations accomplishing this work; New Yorkers should be proud of what they and their state are accomplishing," Woolley added.

In addition to being home to seven of the top 50 American research universities and two of the top 25 medical research universities, New York houses some of the world's most innovative public-private partnerships working to develop drugs and vaccines for global health, including the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative North America (DNDi), The Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance) and the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI). DNDi has 13 drugs in the pipeline and the TB Alliance just announced a new drug trial that may reduce costs by 90%, treatment time by 80%, and provide greater protection against drug resistant TB strains. IAVI's Brooklyn lab is contributing to the search and development of promising AIDS vaccine breakthroughs.

Additional poll findings show:

-- Most New Yorkers (86%) are concerned about drug resistance as well as preventing it (85%) around the world;
-- 53% say global health research creates jobs;
-- 72% say it is important for New York to offer tax or other incentives for companies to invest in research to improve health globally;
-- 69% say that Americans will be better off if the U.S. government invests in global health research; and
-- 74% say the U.S. is in danger of losing its global competitive edge.

Explore further: Georgia residents: Investment in global health research is vital to state's economy

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