Sen. Arlen Spector Sharply Criticizes the FDA

Senator Arlen Spector has sharply criticized the FDA for failing to ask for more funding beyond that which was requested by President Bush in this year’s budget.  Apparently, the FDA was hesitant to reveal their true financial needs because of an administrative rule that forbids any public disagreement with the budget.  As a result, the FDA has become ineffective at policing food and drug supplies– as shown by the recent influx of tainted heparin, dog food, salmonella tomatoes, and lead paint toys.

Sadly, after months of public outrage regarding the failures listed above, FDA officials finally began to drop hints concerning their true financial needs.   They further attempted to thwart the public outrage by blaming Congress for their dragging their feet regarding their untimely $275 Million request.  This week, representatives of the FDA told reporters that they “would like to once again strongly urge Congress to act quickly to enhance the safety of food and medical products.”

However, correcting the record regarding the FDA’s own failure to act was Senator Arlen Spector, who hand wrote a letter to HHS Secretary Michael Levitt stating, “I am really surprised by your comment quoted in the NY Times today urging Congress to act quickly when the Administration is drastically hindering NECESSARY IMMEDIATE RELIEF by delaying the funding for 8-9 months.  The FDA NEEDS this money now to save lives.”

I’m glad Sen. Spector publically exposed the FDA’s inefficiency as an agency designed to protect the American public from dangerous food and drugs.  If they can’t handle making budget requests or making sure that they have the necessary capital to operate effectively, then its clear they can not be trusted with our health and safety.  We can only hope that this open criticism from Sen. Spector will put the pressure on the FDA to shape up and take their job of policing imports and dangerous products seriously.

Related Information:

Medical Malpractice

2 thoughts on “Sen. Arlen Spector Sharply Criticizes the FDA”

  1. Perhaps 8 years of budget cuts and being told the agency doesn’t have the regulatory authority it should contributes to a “why bother” institutional culture…like when Congress told FDA it could not require HIV pharma-industry to do safety studies in kids before seeking approval. Granted, the FDA is a giant jurasic behemoth that has long needed to reorganize. Yet as this is being done, Congress should ensure that the agency has the funding and complete authority to properly do its job.

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