Any big fix at the FDA may have to wait for a new president. The White House's proposed budget includes a funding increase of just 5.7 percent for the agency, a hike that's significantly absorbed by inflation. It's a far cry from the double-or-nothing some experts have said is crucial to bringing the FDA up to speed.
The $2.4 billion budget won't be greeted by cheers from any but the most die-hard anti-government types. Over the past couple of months, report after report has shown that FDA is in dire need of more bucks and more bodies to deal with big leaps forward in science and huge increases in imports of food and drugs.
Of course Congress might boost FDA funding levels, but that boost would have to make it past the president's desk. For his part, Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach sounded sanguine about the proposal--"This budget enables us to continue development of the staff and programs necessary," he said in a statement--but it is his boss's budget, after all. Other observers weren't so satisfied. Without Congressional intervention, the agency will be stuck "treading water," one expert said.