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The Price of Doing Business: FDA Asks for a $4 Billion Budget

The FDA is asking for a significant increase in its budget to meet the ever increasing demands placed on the agency, according to their News Release of February 1. The Food and Drug Administration is asking for a total of $4.03 billion from the President’s fiscal year 2011 federal budget. This would represent a 23 percent increase over the agency's current budget of $3.28 billion. The proposed budget would be comprised of an increase in $146 million from the budget and $601 million in industry user fees.

According to the FDA, their main priorities for the next fiscal year are in the areas of food safety, the Protecting Patients program, advancing FDA regulatory science work and overseeing tobacco. The improvement in food safety work is a priority set by President Obama to increase the safety of the country's food supply. Here, the FDA will focus on such areas as implementing a track and trace technology pilot program, strengthening its import safety program, and improving data collection and risk analysis.

The Protecting Patients program will increase the FDA's efforts to ensure the safety of drugs, devices, and vaccines, as well as the nation’s blood supply.

The efforts of the administration in the area of tobacco products propose to be funded by an increase in tobacco user fees. The FDA will continue its efforts to promote the public's understanding of the harmful effects of tobacco products and to develop the foundation of science for regulating tobacco.

Some are critical of the new budget aims. According to the Washington Post, the budget may be too optimistic because it depends on $250 million in user fees from food producers that have not yet been approved by Congress. In addition, the FDA's work on improving food safety may require more than an infusion of funds. Rena Steinzor, who teaches at the University of Maryland Law School and is president of the Center for Progressive Reform tells the Post, "No one knowledgeable about the FDA thinks it can do a credible job improving food safety in the U.S. without a far larger increase in funding ... and without dramatically strengthened legal authority."

For the full FY2011 budget for the FDA, go to: http://www.hhs.gov/budget/docbudget.htm.

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