Medical research is the study and execution of various tests and trials on humans and even animals for the purpose of learning more about how the human body works, and how to treat various conditions, disorders, and diseases. We have thousands of years worth of medical research to thank for the advances we’ve made today. If it weren’t for doctors, nurses, other medical professionals, and even the everyday person asking questions like, “What is causing that pain?” and, “I wonder if I can fix this problem by opening up the body and looking for the infected part”, we wouldn’t have all of the miracles of medical science to utilize today.
Major benefits of medical research include:
1) antibiotics to treat bacterial infections that were once severely debilitating or even deadly
2) vaccinations to prevent and sometimes even entirely eradicate diseases like polio, measles, mumps, scarlet fever, and chicken pox
3) effective treatments for the management of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes
4) medication to lower blood pressure and improve cholesterol levels
5) life-saving surgeries for many of the body’s organs.
But medical research doesn’t come cheaply. There are many costs to consider: the cost of retaining doctors and scientists to conduct research, the cost of the facilities were research is conducted, the cost of supplies, and even the cost of compensating willing human subjects for offering their bodies to medical science. It takes significant amounts of money to fund medical research, and this money comes from government, commercial, and private resources. Some of the foundations who conduct medical research — such as a woman named Lois Pope and her LIFE Foundation, which focuses on neurological research — also raise their own funds via private investors and grants.
While some foundations are lucky enough to be able to qualify for special grants and scholarships to use for furthering their medical research, the majority of funds come from government distribution of taxpayer dollars, and from corporate and private sources. In the United States, for example, roughly 95 billion dollars were provided for medical research during 2003, and these funds came from pharmaceutical companies, bio-technology companies, medical device companies, and state and local governments.
With these funds, medical research can be conducted in a variety of environments and in a variety of ways, with a variety of purposes. However, while the government is very much in favor of medical research in order to fund research, they also heavily regulate this industry. There are national regulatory agencies who monitor the research that is conducted, particularly when it comes to the development of new medications. In the United States it’s the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) who regulates drug research and production, while worldwide it’s the World Medical Association who monitors general medical research.
Medical research doesn’t come without risk, but while there will always be risks as well as setbacks, the overall benefits of medical research can’t be denied. The new discoveries found via medical research is often life-saving, or at the very least, significantly life-improving.