The National Institutes of Health (NIH) sent more than $90 million of U.S. taxpayers’ money overseas to China for various public health research projects, a new report shows.
For example, in a $17 million study, a Chinese researcher from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention investigated whether 420 prostitutes and 241 of their clients were willing to use “microbicides” (a class of medications that includes nonoxynol-9) during sexual activity in order to combat sexually transmitted diseases. Some of the prostitutes were only 14 years old.
Between 2003 and 2008, the NIH spent more than $17 million funding the study of AIDS and HIV in Kaiyuan County, Yunnan Province, China. According to the Traditional Values Coalition, which dug up these and other grant records, the single published result of this research is an article titled “Microbicide Acceptability and Associated Factors Among Female Sex Workers and Male Clients in Kaiyuan County, Yunnan Province, China.”
Another NIH-funded program spent $3,618,235 in taxpayer money teaching “a cadre of highly trained research scientists” in the Tuberculosis and HIV training in China. The project’s goal was to have those scientists ultimately remain in China and increase their capacity to educate Chinese citizens about public health and epidemics.
In 2009 and 2010, the NIH spent $65,488 and $64,051, respectively, on a grant for someone to write the “first comprehensive and analytical book about public health education and campaigns in twentieth-century China.”
The NIH gave more than $150,000 to a Chinese researcher between 2005 and 2009 to learn more about acupuncture. In both 2005 and 2007, the researcher was paid more than $60,000 to study the craft at Massachusetts General Hospital. In both 2008 and 2009, records show NIH continued funding the research, which was, at that point, taking place in China.
Over the course of the past five years, the NIH has also granted $2 million to a U.S.-based researcher who splits his time between Harvard University and the University of Georgia. The funding supported an attempt to develop a vaccine for Schistosomiasis, a parasite-spread infection that’s increasingly common in China. The Traditional Values Coalition says the disease is easily treated with antibiotics. It also affects water buffalo and snails.
Traditional Values Coalition president Andrea Lafferty said President Obama and Congress should seriously consider cutting NIH behavioral science funding because of examples like this.
“As our country heads to fiscal ruin, why are we giving millions in taxpayer dollars to Chinese science — which benefits China and its institutions — when they hold more than $1 trillion in American debt?” Lafferty said in a statement. “It is good to fund certain types of medical research, provided it benefits those who pay for it — the American taxpayer.”
“It is simply unacceptable for the NIH to pay Chinese researchers to study acupuncture, or fund international research, when we are struggling to pay our own debts,” Lafferty added. “That China, our biggest creditor, is the recipient makes this waste all the more incredible.”
NIH responds to these discoveries by saying Americans can benefit from research done overseas. “Americans benefit enormously from research that has taken place elsewhere,” an NIH spokesperson emailed to The Daily Caller, adding that “diseases don’t respect borders.”
“As the nation’s primary medical research agency, NIH research addresses the full spectrum of health. Behavioral and social sciences research helps predict, prevent, and manage illness in individuals and whole populations,” the NIH spokesperson said. “The goal of such research is to understand the behaviors that contribute to increased health risks, as well as how these behaviors can be changed in real-world settings. Global health research helps prevent and treat diseases not only in other countries, including China, but in the United States and elsewhere.”