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About the Alliance for a Stronger FDA

August 1, 2020

We are often asked about the Alliance, its origins and accomplishments.

Q.: Why does the Alliance for a Stronger FDA exist?

A.: FDA was in dire straits during the early years of the 2000s. It was massively underfunded relative to its responsibilities and was in competition for funding with primarily agricultural programs. After 9/11, the agency had received a substantial bump in funding, all of which disappeared within three fiscal years. Then came multiple recalls and crises that, over time, involved every part of the agency.

The Alliance came together to advocate for overall FDA funding. With so much need, it was not possible to argue for one part of the agency at the possible expense of another part. Over time, it proved to be true that “a rising tide lifts all boats.” Each stakeholder constituency had its own reasons for joining, but our collective advocacy has been key to increased funding for every part of the agency.

Q.: What is the Alliance for a Stronger FDA?

A.: The Alliance’s primary mission is to advocate for, and educate about, FDA’s resource needs. This includes budget and personnel, and we focus on taxpayer funding. Importantly, we are also devoted to enhancing Congressional, media, and public understanding of FDA’s mission and responsibility.

Presently, we have about 150 members who span all the different agency stakeholders, as well the agency’s many areas of responsibility. So, our membership includes, but is not limited to: consumer and patient groups, health professions societies, trade groups, companies, and individuals. Together, we represent all areas of FDA jurisdiction: food, drugs, biologics, devices, cosmetics, OTC, and many others. All members support increased funding for FDA to match its responsibilities.

Q.: What has the Alliance for a Stronger FDA accomplished?

A.: No accomplishment belongs solely to one group. Our success resulted from the willingness of legislators, particularly appropriators, to learn more about the broad mission and vast responsibilities of FDA. Without Members of Congress and their staff, there would be no accomplishments to describe.

From the beginning of the Alliance until now, the agency’s budget authority (BA) funding, which comes from taxpayers, has roughly doubled. In FY 2006. BA funding of FDA totaled about $1.5 billion. By FY 2020, the agency’s BA funding has grown to nearly $3.2 billion. This is mirrored by changes in the Congressional view of FDA. When we began, the Ag/FDA appropriations subcommittees saw FDA as different from its other stakeholders, but still just a part of their overall jurisdiction. Today, appropriators see FDA as a special responsibility and listen carefully to the funding needs of the agency.

Last, but hardly least, the Alliance’s work has resulted in a greater understanding within Congress and the media of FDA’s mission and responsibilities.

Editorial note: The Analysis and Commentary section is written by Steven Grossman, Deputy Executive Director of the Alliance for a Stronger FDA

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