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Media Release: March 14, 2009

ALLIANCE WELCOMES NOMINATION OF NEW COMMISSIONER, INCREASES IN FDA FUNDING

FDA would receive $2.04 billion in FY 09; $325 million more than in FY 08

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 14, 2009 —  The Alliance for a Stronger FDA today said it welcomed the prompt nomination by President Obama of a new FDA commissioner and his signing of the FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations bill, which contained a substantial increase in FDA funding.

“There is now tangible evidence of Presidential commitment to FDA at a level that has not been seen in the last three decades,” said Wayne Pines, President of the Alliance, whose 180 members are dedicated to strengthening FDA through increased funding.

“The President’s nominees for Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner, Dr. Margaret Hamburg and Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, bring proven public health leadership to the FDA.  Their nomination fulfills the Alliance’s request that the top position at FDA be filled promptly, so that the agency can begin the important process of restoring confidence in its ability to protect and advance the public health,” Pines said. “We hope the Senate moves quickly to confirm Dr. Hamburg.”

“The Alliance looks forward to working with Drs. Hamburg and Sharfstein to ensure that the FDA is a fully-functioning agency, capable of carrying out its important public health mission,” said Christopher Waldrop, an Alliance Board member and Director of the Food Policy Institute of the Consumer Federation of America.

The FY 2009 Omnibus Appropriations Act, signed by the President on March 11, provides FDA with a $325 million increase over the FY 08 appropriation. This was nearly a 20% increase and, for the first time, FDA’s appropriated funds will exceed $2 billion.

“A new Commissioner and more resources are essential tools for FDA to meet the most pressing needs today and start to plan for the challenges tomorrow, next year and five years from now,” said Donald Kennedy, an Alliance Board member and former Commissioner of FDA.

“The Alliance is also grateful for the continued support of Congress,” said Martha Nolan, an Alliance Board member and Vice President, Public Policy for the Society for Women’s Health Research. “We are particularly fortunate to have Congressional champions on both sides of the aisle who recognize that additional resources are critical to FDA’s success.”

“An important theme for Congress and the incoming leadership team at FDA will be the need for accountability for new funds being appropriated to the agency.” said Caroline Smith DeWaal, an Alliance Board member and Food Safety Director at the Center for Science in the Public Interest.  “We will work with Congress and new FDA leadership to ensure that funds are spent both effectively and efficiently.”

The Alliance for a Stronger FDA is a coalition of 180 members, including consumer, patient, professional and research groups, industry, trade associations, and individuals.  The Alliance, now in its third year, is the only multi-stakeholder group that advocates for increasing resources at FDA to match the agency’s responsibilities.