What Would Another Shutdown Mean to Our Nation’s Laboratories?

 

The sixteen-day government shutdown in October was a scary problem for many Americans. Many government workers were furloughed for a portion or the entirety of the shutdown; travelers’ plans were detoured as all national monuments and parks were closed; and funding for some of our most important programs, including those in public health, was suspended.

 

Although the shutdown officially ended on the 17th, the gridlock that remains in Washington is still there. And the solution reached was only a short-term one. The agreement approved by Congress only funds the government until January 15th. Therefore, we could be doing this again shortly after the New Year, which is scary for American for so many reasons.

 

With that in mind, we wanted to make reference to a few stories, which highlighted some of the fears laboratory workers, industry researchers and public policy officials had about what the shutdown would do in regard to the operation of our nation’s laboratories. Many of our laboratories rely on government funding to stay open, so a long-term shutdown could affect staffing, laboratory supplies and research capabilities. Here is just a small sample of the fears echoed by these people:

 

  • No Flu Monitoring: The Center for Disease Control was partially closed during the shutdown, and one of the programs that ceased for the period was all disease monitoring systems. This includes flu monitoring, which is dangerous as we’re now in Flu Season, and it changes every year.
  • No Food Inspection: While much has been said about the removal of food inspectors during the shutdown, labs were affected as well. Lab research on food-borne illnesses and parasites/bacteria that affect our food systems were suspended, which could result in greater tampering of meat/produce.
  • No NIH Grants: Many of the trials and medical research done in our nation’s best labs are funded by the NIH. During the shutdown, the NIH suspended reviewing and issuing any new grants as well as accepting trials. This had an immediate effect on patients in trials as well as research for future medical breakthroughs.

 

As a leader in healthcare and laboratory supplies industry, Cen-Med provides affordable and dependable products to help lab and medical professionals do their jobs to the best of their ability. For more information on how we can help you find affordable solutions in a time of unsure funding, contact us today.