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Messaging for Upcoming Senate Hill Days

May 21, 2021

The FDA’s “broad, complex, and growing responsibilities” is the core message of all Alliance Hill meetings. However, the reality of this statement can be hard to convey in a short meeting.

Our approach — which has proven effective — is for the team leader to open with some brief remarks on who we are (“all the stakeholders on behalf of the American public”), why FDA is so important, and the need for more resources in FY 22. Then each Alliance participant gets a few minutes to talk about why a well-resourced FDA is important to them and how more resources will make the most difference for the American people. We try to balance each team so that staff will hear a variety of perspectives across the agency’s jurisdiction. We do not just say “broad, complex, and growing” but try to give that message life by illustrating it.

Generally, team leaders will thank Congress for their support of FDA and their willingness to supply much needed funding. Rapid acceleration of science and technology creates both new challenges and new opportunities. The agency needs an increased budget, more scientific and technical staff, and better analytical tools that support science-based decision-making and to keep up with innovation in food and medical products. Some key points:

  • FDA is responsible for 70% of the food supply and all drugs, medical devices, biologics, vaccines, diagnostics, veterinary foods and medicines, dietary supplements, and cosmetics.
  • The agency oversees products that represent 20% of all consumer spending ($2.6 trillion) and touch Americans multiple times each day.
  • No federal agency’s mission and responsibilities are more affected by changes in science, technology, innovation, commerce, and social trends than FDA.
  • We will highlight the need to fund FDA’s technology and data modernization needs.

When we have the President’s Budget Request, we will provide staff additional details.

Participants then get a few minutes to tell their story about the agency’s importance to them and their priorities for new funding. Participants will thank Congress for their bipartisan support of FDA’s resource needs and point to a specific example in their own area where increased funding in prior years has made an important difference. Participants should follow-up with any examples of how and why agency responsibilities are likely to continue to increase.

Areas that Alliance participants may touch on include shortening supply lines/advanced manufacturing; product safety and tracking; regulatory science; building expertise to match new science; modernization of FDA’s data infrastructure and technological capacity; and public health priorities, including nutrition and combatting opioid addiction. In particular, we encourage participants to use examples of how investment in technology and data modernization at FDA will strengthen the agency’s efforts and benefit the American public.

For those participating in next week’s Senate meetings, the Alliance will hold a briefing at 4:00 p.m ET on Monday May 24. Everyone who has registered to participate in the Hill meetings will receive a link. The briefing will provide an opportunity to ask questions about the Hill meetings and explore what messages will be most effective for you to use.

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

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