Advocates decry president’s F.D.A. budget as too small

by Jay Sjerven
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WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama’s budget for fiscal year 2015 requested $2,586 million in budget authority for the Food and Drug Administration, which was up $25 million, or 1%, from $2,561 million and compared with $,2,386 million in fiscal 2013. Funding during fiscal 2013 was reduced by budget cuts required during the sequester. The F.D.A.’s budget authority in fiscal 2012 was $2,506 million. Budget authority funding includes no user fees.

Budget authority for use in the F.D.A.’s food programs was requested at $903 million, up $20 million, or 2%, from $883 million in fiscal 2014 and compared with $797 million during the sequester-reduced fiscal 2013.  It should be noted Congress approved $46 million in supplemental funding for food and drug safety in fiscal 2013, which took much of the sting out of the sequester for those programs.

The Alliance for a Stronger F.D.A. expressed disappointment with the small overall increase sought for the agency in the president’s budget.

“The budget proposal would actually weaken the F.D.A. in certain areas, which we think the American people will regard as unacceptable,” said Kasey K. Thompson, president of the alliance and vice-president, office of policy, planning and communications at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists.

“F.D.A.’s funding has to be increased further, well above the fiscal year 2014 level, to reflect the agency’s vast public health responsibilities and continually increasing workload,” Mr. Thompson said. “If the F.D.A. does not have the resources to fulfill the mission, there is no other federal, state or private agency that provides a fallback.”
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