America's focus on technology — rather than medicine — is 'eroding our national intellect,' says pharma exec

George Yancopoulos, MD, PhD, president and chief scientific officer of Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, condemned President Donald Trump's proposed budget cuts for HHS, warning that withdrawing investments for science and health research poses risks for the health of future generations, according to Bloomberg.

The proposed budget cuts would hinder drugmakers' ability to develop new treatments to improve — or save — pateints' lives, Dr. Yancopoulos told Bloomberg. He believes the investments encourage researchers to focus on creating new medicines, which offer very significant benefits for patients, rather than new apps or gadgets.

"Do you pray for an iPhone?" Dr. Yancopoulos said. "God forbid, I've had situations with my parents, my loved ones, my children, when they have a serious disease, that's when we pray, and that's why as a society, we have to make some decisions about what to invest in."

The Trump administration has proposed cutting the total 2018 HHS budget — which encompasses the National Institutes of Health, the CDC and other major health research agencies —from $84.6 billion in fiscal year 2016 to $65.1 billion for FY 2018. Another proposed cut would reduce NIH's research budget by $1.23 billion for FY 2017 and by $5.8 billion in FY 2018.

Dr. Yancopoulos said the pharmaceutical industry relies on these organization's research, which "reveals the underlying nature of health and disease," according to Bloomberg.

"We should only be working on two things, health and the freaking environment," he added. "The last thing we need is another freaking browser and app — those things are eroding our national intellect."

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