COMMENTARY: Benefits of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas

The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) has been working to reduce the tragically high human and financial cost of cancer since 2010. Texas voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2007 to establish CPRIT, authorizing the State to issue $3 billion in bonds to fund groundbreaking cancer research and prevention programs and services over a 10-year period. This effort has supported world-renowned scholars (including a 2018 Nobel Prize recipient) and has helped to notably enhance Texas’ position as a biomedical center.

Reducing the cost of cancer is an important goal, not only for individuals and families, but also for the economy. We estimate that for Texas, the cost of cancer (including treatment, morbidity, and mortality and associated spillover effects) is more than $104.6 billion in output losses per year and nearly 1.1 million lost jobs, in addition to billions in State and local revenues. CPRIT’s research and prevention/screening reduce cancer incidence and severity, benefitting both patients and society as a whole through enhancing the quality of life, productivity, and lifespans of cancer victims.

CPRIT programs also generate hundreds of millions of dollars in additional business activity each year and substantial taxes for the state and local governments. We estimate that the direct outlays and related “multiplier” effects of CPRIT operations and programs generate an increase in business activity in Texas including $719.8 million in output (gross product) and 10,132 jobs. CPRIT programs also lead to secondary (downstream) benefits such as improved outcomes, and we estimate that when these secondary effects are included, the impact on Texas business activity rises to $12.4 billion in output each year and 110,265 jobs. Incremental taxes to the state far exceed the total commitment of state resources, and even when other potential uses for state funding of CPRIT are considered, the net benefits remain substantial.

The impact of not continuing CPRIT’s programs with sustainable levels of funding for another 10 years beyond its initial mission would be significant. We estimate that these losses would include almost $148.9 billion in lost gross product and more than 1.3 million lost person-years of employment as well as billions in fiscal losses to the state and local governments.

Basic medical research is part of society’s essential infrastructure and is worthy of public investment. CPRIT has demonstrated the capacity to enhance the health of Texans and the economy at a pace that far exceeds the direct commitment of taxpayer resources. Over time, CPRIT will likely generate fiscal receipts totaling a multiple of the public resources provided, as well as notable economic and health benefits for Texans and, indeed, the entire world.

Dr. M. Ray Perryman is president and chief executive officer of The Perryman Group. He writes for The Monitor’s Board of Contributors.