Medical research is heavily funded: the National Institutes of Health had a budget of over $20 billion in 2001, and even more money was spent by the pharmaceutical industry on research. Children's health issues, however, receive only a small fraction of these funds. In 2001, for example, less than $1 billion of NIH funding was allocated to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). In part, the problem stems from a modern predisposition to protect children from participating in research.
Several federal policies in the 1990s changed the face of the “typical research subject.” Historically, researchers sought “white men,” but the NIH announced in 1994 that all research would need to include women and minorities, and in 1998, the NIH added the requirement of including children. The shift in policies reflects a shift in focus. When the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research addressed fairness in subject selection in the Belmont Report of 1979, the main concern was ensuring fairness in the distribution of risks.