By a vote of 217-203 the House approved the fiscal year 2012 agriculture appropriations bill (H.R. 2112). The bill includes funding for the FDA.
Total funding for the FDA, including user fees, is $3.7 billion. This is about 0.09% above last year’s funding level which reflects an increase in mandatory programs over $3 billion. This means that the overall total for the fiscal year 2012 agriculture bill is higher than last year’s bill even though the bill cuts millions from the FDA’s budget.
The bill cuts discretionary funding for the FDA by $284 million. This reduction in discretionary funding for the FDA is an 11.5% cut from last year’s funding level. The reduction includes an $87 million cut from the FDA’s food safety budget.
The $284 million in cuts to the FDA’s budget:
• May delay or prevent development and implementation of a regulatory pathway for bio-similars;
• Significantly reduce efforts to stop importation of illegal products;
• Slow efforts to approve generic drugs;
• Undercut our nation’s investment in development of medical countermeasures in the case of pandemic disease or bio-terrorism.
In addition to the $284 million cut in FDA funding, the House also produced a committee report on the bill. Here are a few highlights from the report:
• In order to focus resources, FDA is strongly encouraged to set up a pilot project to expedite imports for highly compliant importers
• In order to achieve independent post-market surveillance, FDA is directed to submit plans to Congress for an independent office to carry out this work.
We have hopes for a higher allocation in the Senate, and will keep you updated as the Senate Appropriations Committee moves forward with their bill.