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FDA Should Not Seek More Drug Company Money, Should Get All Funding From U.S.Treasury

Jan. 11, 2007

FDA Should Not Seek More Drug Company Money, Should Get All Funding From U.S.Treasury

Statement of Dr. Sidney M. Wolfe, Director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing that the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA) be reauthorized by Congress this year and that under the act, drug companies give the agency nearly $400 million a year. The FDA’s crucial drug regulatory functions are too important to be tainted and compromised by direct funding from the very companies whose drugs the agency reviews for safety.

All the better ideas that have been discussed for improving FDA functions of reviewing new drugs, post-market safety studies and advertising should be included in the agency’s upcoming budget proposal to the congressional appropriations committees. The agency should request these additional funds through the same process that funded the agency from 1906 through 1992 – that is, the money should come from the federal Treasury, not the pharmaceutical industry.

Ironically, the entire annual amount of funds now sought from industry under PDUFA is equivalent to fewer than two days of the current expenditures for the disastrous war in Iraq. Where are the congressional priorities?