The Food and Drug Administration is seeking a $5.1 billion budget for 2017, which includes $41.2 million to improve the safety of medical products, and $211 million to fund what is referred to as “the most sweeping overhaul of the country’s food safety system since the first federal food safety law was passed in 1906.”
The budget is about 8 percent higher than the agency’s 2016 budget – a net increase of about $283 million. The additional funds would support several key initiatives such as implementing the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), fighting prescription drug abuse, and supporting Vice President Joe Biden’s “National Cancer Moonshoot.”
About 48 million people acquire foodborne illnesses each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The funds requested to move forward with FSMA aim to reduce this number of preventable foodborne illness outbreaks by arming the federal government and states with enforceable safety standards for produce farms, and by enabling the agency to hold food importers accountable for making sure their products meet U.S. safety standards.
Steps have already been made to improve food safety by cementing six key rules in September and November related to overseeing preventative protocols by manufacturers and tightening safety standards for farmed produce and imported food.
Funding would also enable the agency to identify solutions to prevent prescription opioid abuse and accelerate patient access to safe and effective generic drugs. The agency said it would also focus on reducing drug shortages. The FDA also requested $75 million to pay for a virtual cancer research center for the development new diagnostic tests and treatments. Congress has an obligation to adequately fund the FDA. If you agree, contact your members of Congress and let them know you are “watching them.”
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