Will the FDA get money to flex muscles?

Sure enough, President Bush announced yesterday that he'd like to pump up the power at the FDA, but said not a word on increased funding for the effort. Indeed, Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt said his special import-safety committee hadn't even thought about how much its recommendations would cost. A coalition of consumer and industry groups are lobbying for a whopping 100 percent increase in the agency's current budget of $450 million, but Vegas odds on that kind of increase are beyond long.

Reaction to Bush's proposals--which include targeted inspection of food, toy, drug, and other imports--were mixed. Some expressed surprise that such a regulation-shy administration would pitch nothing less than new regulations, not to mention stronger enforcement. Others thought it's about time, but that said, praised the president's proposals. Still others thought the recommendations didn't go far enough.

The key provisions affecting FDA? The proposed recall powers, of course, and new authority to police product safety at foreign manufacturing plants or farms. The agency would even be able to seize assets of companies that criminally violate safety rules.

- check out the HHS release
- see the fact sheet on the new import-safety plan
- read the text of President Bush's import-safety speech
- here's Chicago Tribune report
- read the article from the Los Angeles Times