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Respiratory Conditions

Volume 453: debated on Monday 20 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much she spent on research into (a) respiratory conditions and (b) asthma in each of the last five years. (101330)

The main agency through which the Government support biomedical research is the Medical Research Council (MRC). The MRC is an independent body funded by the Department of Trade and Industry via the Office of Science and Innovation. MRC expenditure since 2001-02 on respiratory disorders, and the element of that portfolio related to asthma, has been:

£ million

Respiratory disease, including asthma

Asthma

2001-02

11.4

3

2002-03

13.2

2.8

2003-04

12.1

2.8

2004-05

10.3

2.6

2005-06

1

1

1 Not yet available

The main part of the Department's total expenditure on health research is devolved to and managed by national health service (NHS) organisations. The Department additionally funds research to support policy and to provide the evidence needed to underpin quality improvement and service development in the NHS. Total reported expenditure by research active NHS organisations, and expenditure by the Department's national research programmes on the disease areas in question, is shown in the table.

£ million

Respiratory disease, including asthma1, 2

Asthma3

2001-02

n/a

0.6

2002-03

24.5

0.6

2003-04

30.7

0.8

2004-05

31.2

0.7

2005-06

32.0

0.4

n/a = Not available.

1 Expenditure data were not collected centrally from NHS research active organisations prior to 2002.

2 The national research programme activity in this area includes a research initiative on air pollution. Part of the focus of this initiative was to investigate the impact of air pollutants on lung function and another part on studies of the effect of living near roads on respiratory symptoms; others are in part relevant to improving our understanding of the factors that cause or exacerbate asthma. It is not possible separately to identify the asthma related costs included in the latter.

3 Research active NHS organisations' annual research and development reports identify expenditure in some 16 national priority areas, including respiratory disease. Those reports do not include separate details of expenditure on asthma research. The figures shown here relate only to expenditure by the Department's national R and D programmes.