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FDA for "2 Cents a Day"

In front of the Senate appropriations subcommittee yesterday, US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said the agency is a "true bargain" among federal agencies, at a cost of about two cents a day or eight dollars a year for each American.

Reuters reports that Hamburg appeared before the committee to ask for more money in the face of mandatory cuts of about $209 million to the agency budget as part of the sequester.

The FDA gets only a small part of its funding from taxpayers, with most of its budget filled by user fees paid by drug and other companies that submit products for review. The sequester is set to withhold a portion of these user fees.

According to Reuters, Hamburg argued to the committee what she told Massachusetts Biotechnology Council annual meeting attendees — that such fees should be exempt from the cuts, and that the FDA "will not always be able to complete its review of new drug applications on the agreed upon schedule," without them.

According to Hamburg, the FDA is doing its best to tighten its belt by cutting back on travel and training, but plans to expand its oversight of specialty compounding pharmacies to the tune of $3 million and also needs money to respond to increasing globalization of the food and drug supply chain.