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Mary LaskerMary Lasker
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April 24, 1963 - Interview No. 14.


Mrs. Lasker, as you resume your thrilling story, I'd like to ask you about the reasons, the background, for the dramatic increase in appropriations in the last several years for medical research.


Well, the real reason was that we finally had key people in Congress, both in the House and Senate, who began to understand what important contributions to the conquest of major diseases could be made through medical research, and also that the conquest of major diseases such as cancer and arteriosclerosis and mental illnesses would pay off not only in lives but in dollars in the form of increased gross national product for the nation and a more prosperous country because the disabilities and death would be avoided and the prime of life would be prolonged.

I would like to go back to page 103 of this memoir where we were discussing the appropriations and effort in 1959. I had discussed the Bo Jones committee and the fact that it made an enormous contribution to the understanding of medical research in the Senate. In the spring of ‘60 many of the men who had been on the Committee came to a Senate hearing in April or early May held by Senator Hill and testified that vastly increased amounts of money could be intelligently used immediately and that the total research effort should be at least between two and three billion dollars by 1970. This was intended to include construction funds.

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