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Coalition forms to provide resources for the FDA

Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) joins former government officials, patient group representatives, consumer advocacy organizations, and industry associations to form the Coalition for a Stronger FDA.

"While there have been increases in public funds for the FDA, the agency's funding has not kept pace with its growing responsibilities," says Jim Greenwood, president and CEO of BIO. "In recent years, the FDA's responsibilities have expanded to include more counterterrorism activities, pandemic disease preparation, food safety activities, and more. The FDA's total appropriations are currently less than the agency's actual cost of doing business."

The Coalition is co-chaired by Tommy G. Thompson, Donna Shalala, and Dr. Louis Sullivan, the last three Secretaries of the Dept. of Health and Human Services. The Coalition plans to build public support for the FDA and work with the executive branch and congress. Designed to be a multi-year effort, the Coalition's goals are to make sure the FDA has sufficient resources to protect patients and consumers, and to maintain public confidence and trust in the agency. A mid-September survey of 1,029 adults measuring consumer attitudes toward the FDA showed that a majority of Americans believe the FDA does vital work and is among the most important federal agencies, but the public is unsure whether the agency can adequately ensure the products it regulates are safe and effective.

BIO's call for increased public support is understandable. As Greenwood explains, "Securing adequate support for the FDA in the coming years is particularly important as the agency prepares to address the coming wave of exciting new biomedical advances. Without appropriate resources at the FDA, new therapies for major diseases could be seriously slowed if the agency were to become a bottleneck for the approval of new products. Companies could face increased difficulty obtaining funding for innovative research and development without a clear review and approval timeline, jeopardizing U.S. leadership. Consumer confidence in food and drug safety will erode."

View a list of members and read more about the Coalition for a Stronger FDA.

IN THE PHOTO: From left to right, former HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson, BIO's Jim Greenwood, Food Products Assn.'s Cal Dooley, Center for Science in the Public Interest's Michael Jacobsen, the Alliance for Aging Research's Dan Perry, and Ellen Sigal from Friends of Cancer Research, help announce the Coalition for a Stronger FDA.
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