Privatizing NIH

I applaud your editorial “It’s Crazy” (Dec. 19) referring to President Reagan’s idea to “privatize” the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NIH is unique among the world’s institutions for support of health-related research. It is the primary reason why the United States has led the world in this research since World War II. The public has benefitted immensely from the relatively small proportion of its tax dollar used to support the NIH and its programs.

If we are to expect further inroads to be made in the prevention and cure of the diseases that still cause 2 million deaths in our country each year, it is mandatory that the NIH and its support be maintained in its present form. It is an institution best fitted to mount the type of research that is required to solve the major public health problems, including the AIDS epidemic, which confront us now and will continue to confront us into the next century.


Associate Dean for Research


UCLA School of Medicine

Los Angeles