Lending an Earmark for the Critical Path

  • by: |
  • 02/04/2008
The President's new budget for the FDA allocates $68 million more for drugs and biologics in FY 2009. Backing out user fees which that's a real increase of $10 million. So core functions are finally getting user fee money and some real inflation adjusted increase. But it's not enough. That just allows the FDA to begin to dig into the science deficit years of political neglect have piled on the agency. There is still no additional money for Critical Path or other efforts that actually focus on improving the scientific integrity of the agency.

For starters we could take all the Ag Approp earmarks flowing into the the district of Rosa DelLauro who chairs that subcommittee and who has as her informal science advisers the anti-medical progress Center for Science in the Public Interest and Union of Conceited Scientists. DeLauro hogged $25.4 million in earmarks for herself last session while cutting funding for the Reagan Udall foundation that is established to help the FDA find ways to speed up the translation of basic research into personalized tools for testing cures for cancer and other illnesses that apparently can't be earmarked. DeLauro's earmarks are twice the increase the President has allocated for FDA core operations.

No that earmarks alone would be enough. I think we are coming to a time when the user fee program has outlived it's usefulness in its current structure. This last go round showed that user fee money is better used for Critical Path activities and that the user fee process dwells on the cause de jour to a more orderly and integrated oversight and funding of FDA operations. Maybe that's a starting point for everyone agreeing on a better, less political way to address the FDA's -- and the public's -- long term public health needs.

Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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