Federal Investment in Pain Research

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) - the nation's federal medical research agency - invests over $40 billion in medical research for the American people. Chronic pain is as prevalent as cancer, heart disease and diabetes combined, yet in 2019, the NIH spent 88% less on chronic pain research than it did on research for these conditions. This is slightly improved (by 7%) from its 2014 investment (shown in the figure below). This is due to a Congressional appropriation of nearly $1 billion for the HEAL Initiative, half of which was allocated specifically to pain research.    

Further, the figure below shows the very low ratio of NIH funding levels to societal costs for chronic pain, compared to other major diseases.

The research investment of other federal agencies is also incommensurate with the significant human and financial impact of chronic pain in both the general and military populations. The figure below summarizes the funding levels of various federal agencies, which represents a total investment equivalent to $0.04 per American adult with chronic pain.  


Federal Investment in COPCs Research 

Currently, the National Institutes of Health invests $1.06 per affected adult in research on Chronic Overlapping Pain Conditions (COPCs) and other federal research agencies are spending negligible amounts on COPCs research, if any at all. 

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