Autism Research Waste a Disservice

Investigators with the Government Accountability Office tell us approximately $1.4 billion was spent by the government on autism research between 2008 and 2012. That is the good news.

The bad news is as much as 84 percent of that money was spent on redundant research.

Duplication of research netted the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee and the agencies involved national recognition for fiscal redundancy, waste and abuse. Imagine. More than $1 billion was simply tossed down the drain, when it could have been used in more areas of autism research.

GAO investigators found the problem, as is typical of the federal government, is communication. In one instance, five departments were awarded roughly $15.2 million for 20 research projects that all had the same goal. The Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee “may have missed opportunities to coordinate federal autism activities and reduce duplication of effort and resources,” the GAO said. Even without the concern for so much taxpayer money tossed out the window, researchers should also be worried about the avenues they are failing to explore when they chase the same projects.

With a growing number of autism diagnoses each year, poor communication on the part of the federal government is no excuse for greedy researchers begging for money they have no intention of using wisely.