Skip to content

Good Fortune Can Easily Slip Away

June 22, 2018

FDA is having a good year. It may receive significant funding increases. It enjoys support from many who have not been friends of the agency in the past. It has backing from HHS, OMB and the White House to a degree that has not been matched for many years (if ever).

In the midst of such seeming good fortune, we need to keep reminding ourselves: happy endings are not guaranteed.

That’s why the Alliance is pushing forward, asking all stakeholders to voice their support for FDA. If you agree, please add your organization to the Alliance’s sign-on letter urging appropriators to adopt the funding allocations in the House and Senate appropriations bills.

We’ve come a long way. When the Alliance was started more than a decade ago, FDA was in dire straits, needing substantial remedial funding in order to carry out even its most fundamental responsibilities. The agency still functioned, but it isn’t too strong to say it was a mess. The agency didn’t get much respect either, which undoubtedly contributed to the years of underfunding.

At the time, FDA received $1.5 billion in budget authority (BA) appropriations and its prospects for growth were dim. After 9/11, the agency received substantial new monies, but within three fiscal years it was back to where it had been prior to the increases.

In contrast, FDA received $2.7 billion in BA funding in FY 18 and may reach $3 billion in the coming fiscal year. Appropriators — even those far more interested in agriculture than FDA — respect the agency and accept responsibility for assuring its funding needs are met. And no one could say, as we did a decade ago, that FDA needs substantial remedial funding.

There are still plenty of places at FDA that need more funding and there are exciting opportunities for growth and greater benefit to the American public … but those needs and opportunities are anchored in a widely-recognized record of success. For perhaps the first time, Congress is considering an agency budget focused on monies for strengthening and broadening the agency’s mission, rather than remedial funding. This is most clear in proposed funding in the medical products area, less so in the food safety area where there is still much to be done to implement FSMA and for which more funding is clearly needed.

Which brings me back to today’s theme: happy endings are not guaranteed.  We are off to a great start in the House and Senate. Now, it is up to us to help deliver substantial increases in FDA funding. The Alliance can use your support in these efforts. Please sign onto the current advocacy letter, become an Alliance member if you aren’t, and let Ladd and me know if you’d like to be more active on FDA’s behalf.

Comments are closed.