Should taxpayers pay for PR?

Is the money better spent elsewhere, or is communication about government programs essential to their efficacy?

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Amid the fiscal constraints of sequestration, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), which is part of National Institutes of Health (NIH), recently found itself in a bind over its PR spending.

According to an O’Dwyer’s report, “House to Probe NIH PR Spending“:

“Two House committees have kicked off an investigation into PR spending at the National Cancer Institute after an editorial in the respected journal Nature questioned spending in the NCI’s office of communications.”

How much does NCI spend on public relations?

The actual editorial in Nature, which is simply titled “Cancer costs“, the NCI spent $45 million or “almost double what the US Food and Drug Administration spent on communications, including drug and food safety announcements.” The editorial, which cites a cancer research bulletin, goes on to say, “As The Cancer Letter has pointed out, the OCE’s 2012 allotment would cover more than 100 coveted R01 research grants.”

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