Obama wants to boost FDA budget 19%

The Obama administration wants to hike the FDA's budget by 19 percent to $3.2 billion for fiscal 2010. That's a whopping increase: In dollar terms, it amounts to about half a billion, Reuters reports. A good billion or so of the total comes from industry via user fees.

More than half of that amount would go to the "F" in FDA, however, as the administration seeks to follow through on promises to better regulate the food supply. And part of the "D"-in-FDA increase would come from levying additional fees on generic drugmakers, about $36 million worth. But given that the fees would help break the approvals logjam in FDA's generics office, the drugmakers aren't balking.

Will those many millions be enough? William Hubbard, a former FDA associate commissioner, told the Wall Street Journal that the boost--coupled with an emergency funding increase of $172 million last year--will help the FDA "begin to solve some problems." That's partly because the budget will allow hiring of more inspectors and scientists, both of which are sorely needed at the FDA, observers say.

Still, those numbers only allow enough hiring to take FDA back up to the same level as 1994, WSJ notes, the year before FDA's budget started lagging. As you know, the Agency has watched its funding shrink repeatedly since the mid-1990s, so there's a lot of ground to make up.

- read the Reuters news
- see the article in the Wall Street Journal