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Media Release: May 14, 2008


Senator Kohl Adds $275 Million for FDA in FY 08 Emergency Supplemental Bill

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 14, 2008 — The Alliance for a Stronger FDA today applauded the increasing exchange of budget information between FDA and the Congress with regard to FDA’s urgent programmatic needs. In particular, FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach last week sent Senator Arlen Spector (R, PA) an “assessment of immediate resource needs based on my professional judgment as the FDA Commissioner.”

“We are delighted by Commissioner von Eschenbach’s decision to share his professional judgment on budget needs with the Congress,” said Ellen Sigal, President of the Friends of Cancer Research. “The ability of NIH agencies to respond to such Congressional requests has been an important part of serving its research mission, but has not been part of FDA’s traditional dialogue with Congress.”

“For many years, FDA has been silent in the face of repeated Congressional requests for information about the agency’s budget needs,” added Caroline Smith DeWaal, Food Safety Director for the Center for Science in the Public Interest. “Dr. von Eschenbach’s decision to provide his professional judgment is courageous and underscores the urgency and enormity of FDA’s needs. We are one step closer to an FDA that has the resources to serve the needs of American consumers.”

Based on this professional judgment letter, Senator Herbert Kohl (D-WI) has chosen to include $275 million in additional FY 2008 (current year) funding for FDA as part of the FY 2008 emergency supplemental appropriations bill. Senator Kohl is the chairman of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over FDA. The bill with this additional funding will be considered by the Senate Appropriations Committee this week.

“Dr. von Eschenbach has broken with a long and unfortunate tradition of FDA leaders being silent publicly about the real needs of the FDA. The Congress and the public need this kind of guidance,” said Wayne Pines, President of the Alliance for a Stronger FDA. “Now it’s up to the Congress to fund the FDA with the resources it needs to retain its international leadership. Our Alliance applauds the progress made in this direction.” He added: “Senator Kohl continues to be FDA’s champion in the quest for additional funds. We are grateful for his leadership and fully support his efforts. By placing additional funding in this year’s emergency supplemental bill, Senator Kohl has highlighted the enormity and urgency of FDA’s needs.”

The fate of the Kohl amendment is likely to be decided, in part, by House and Senate leadership when they determine the extent to which final Congressional legislation will fund programs other than defense and the war effort.

About the Alliance for a Stronger FDA: The Alliance for a Stronger FDA is a coalition of 180 members, including consumer, patient, professional and research groups; industry trade associations; and individuals who support increased Congressional funding for FDA. The Alliance was formed earlier this year with the merger of the FDA Alliance and the Coalition for a Stronger FDA. More information about the Alliance can be found at