National charity Action for M.E. is asking the government for £35 million to find a cure for M.E. - also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. With government plans to boost medical research funding to £1.2bn per year M.E. research must be considered a priority area of investment.
An international review* found only 43 studies published during the past 50 years that met the quality criteria for inclusion. We believe that a fund is needed to attract scientists and catch up with the enormous backlog of need. The Medical Research Council itself has labelled CFS/M.E. as a neglected field and has given it priority status.
In a photocall being held in Westminster today our campaigners are asking for just 1% of the £3.5 billion that M.E. costs the UK each year to be re-invested into research. M.E. causes long-term illness and disability in 240,000 people. Action for M.E. has also gathered over 28,000 signatures in support of a petition asking the government for research funding.
M.E./CFS can affect anyone regardless of age or sex and causes profound exhaustion, muscle pain and problems with memory and concentration. Around a quarter of patients are severely affected, many relying on wheelchairs for mobility. There is no cure for the illness. Government recently announced £8.5m to start NHS services throughout England.
Chris Clark, Chief Executive of Action for M.E. said:
'People with M.E. have experienced 50 years of neglect. Thankfully government is acting to remedy the absence of NHS services, but we are appealing to them to back this up by promoting scientific enquiry into the illness. Given that it costs the country £3.5bn a year, the investment of just 1% of that cost to find a cure is excellent value for money – and will bring hope to people with M.E.'