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Rev Esp Salud Publica. 2009 Jan-Feb;83(1):137-51.

[Relationship between research funding in the Spanish National Health System and the burden of disease].

[Article in Spanish]

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Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación, C/ Sinesio Delgado 6, Pabellón 13. 28029 Madrid.



The Carlos III Health Institute (Instituto de Salud Carlos III - Spain) allocates funding to health research support in the Spanish National Health System (NHS). This study aimed to analyse the correlation of health research fund allocations in the NHS and the burden of disease in Spanish population.


Cross-sectional study. Burden of disease measures were calculated: disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs), years of life lost (YLLs) and mortality by cause. A correlation analysis (Spearman s Rho) was applied to test the association between these measures and 2006/2007 health research funding.


Using disease categories (n=21), the correlation between funding and disease-burden measures is: DALY (r=0.72; p <0.001), mortality (r=0.60; p=0.004) and YLL (r=0.56; p=0.008). By disease-specific subcategories (n=52): DALY (r=0.55; p<0.001), mortality (r=0.54; p <0.001) and YLL (r=0.55; p <0.001). Malignant neoplasms, neuropsychiatric conditions, cardiovascular diseases and infectious and parasitic diseases receive the greater health research funding support. However, the higher funds allocated per DALY lost ratios were for blood and endocrine disorders, infectious and parasitic diseases and congenital anomalies.


Our analysis suggests that NHS research funding is positive moderately high-associated with the burden of disease in Spain, although there exists certain diseases categories that are over or under-funded in relation to their burden generated. In health planning, burden of disease studies contributes with useful information for setting health research priorities.

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