Today, Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI), Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee with jurisdiction over the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), began formal review of the Administration's Fiscal Year 2010 budget request for the FDA and questioned top officials on the proposed funding.
Witnesses included Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Acting Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration; Patrick McGarey, Director of the Office of Budget Formulation and Presentation at the Food and Drug Administration; and Norris Cochran, Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Office of Budget for the Department of Health and Human Services.
"More than 20 percent of all consumer spending is on products regulated by FDA. It is imperative that this Agency is successful in its mission. Literally, people's lives depend on it," said Kohl.
"The answers to all of FDA's problems do not lie in more money alone," Kohl said. "We do not write blank checks. This money has to be spent intelligently, and we must continue to question each step taken. No one expects a complete overhaul of the FDA to be done overnight, but we do expect results, and we expect results soon."
The FDA budget request this year, not including user fees, totals nearly $2.4 billion. This is an increase of nearly $300 million, or 15 percent. These increases include more than $150 million for food safety, and roughly $100 million for safer drugs and medical products. The budget also proposes to collect almost $950 million in user fees, bringing the FDA's total budget to more than $3.1 billion.
In the past 3 years, the FDA's budget has increased by nearly 40 percent. In FY 2006, the FDA budget was just under $1.5 billion. For FY 2009, Congress provided over $2 billion to the FDA, a single-year increase of 19 percent, which is the largest in FDA's history. These numbers do not include the additional supplemental funding of $150 million provided in FY 2008, or the $50 million for H1N1 activities in the Supplemental currently being considered by the Senate.