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The disease olympics

The massive rise of patient advocacy in the US has led to an aggressive, if inadvertent, contest between disease-specific lobbyists. Advocacy groups say they're just trying to get taxpayer-backed research dollars distributed equitably according to public health need and they deny any outright competition with one another. But with research budgets shrinking, advocacy becomes a zero-sum game. Some scientists worry that pitting one disease against another threatens the leadership of government funding bodies—not to mention the basic research enterprise. Virginia Hughes reports.

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Hughes, V. The disease olympics. Nat Med 19, 257–260 (2013).

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