All nonessential government services were suspended at midnight on October 1, 2013, after Congress failed to reach a budget compromise to keep the government funded before the start of the new fiscal year beginning on October 1, 2013. ASCO issued a statement in response to the government shutdown and as The ASCO Post went to press was closely monitoring the situation and its impact on cancer care.
In a statement, ASCO President Clifford A. Hudis, MD, FACP, said:
“The country woke up this morning to the first government shutdown in 17 years. This is a sad state of affairs and we must insist that, moving forward, our elected leaders do better to ensure that millions of Americans with cancer can continue to rely on their government for essential cancer care, life-saving research, and the advancement of safe and effective drugs into practice.
“The short-term impact on clinical and laboratory research was felt first thing today when investigators were notified that the federal agencies that are critical to ongoing and planned clinical research would not be available until further notice. However, it is the long-term disruption to government services that could be even more devastating to research innovation and the overall health of the nation for decades to come. We call on Congress and the Administration to work together to pass a budget that will continue our country’s commitment to individuals with cancer. Millions of lives, scientific progress, and our worldwide leadership depend on their action.”
ASCO is keeping members abreast of any new information on the government shutdown on ASCO in Action. (Visit http://www.asco.org/advocacy.) ■