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FDA Seeking MORE Money From Drug Industry

One of the major reasons why I continually voice my concerns about the FDA's inability to protect the public is their extreme financial tie to the drug industry. The FDA is in the midst of bargaining for an increase in fees from the drug industry, which paid the agency $232 million in fiscal 2004.

What are the so-called "user fees" for? They came around in the 1990s when drug companies weren't happy with how fast their drugs were being approved, and they agreed to make millions of dollars in payments to the FDA to "speed things along." The arrangement is renewed every five years, and each time the FDA has received even more money from the drug industry, while the industry has received shortened review times for drug applications, faster response times and much more.

Clearly the fees are allowing the drug industry to have major leverage over the FDA, and that leverage is continuing to increase. In fiscal 1993, user fees from the industry accounted for 7 percent of the FDA's drug-review budget. By fiscal 2004, it had jumped to 53 percent. When the new changes take effect in fiscal 2007, if the FDA receives all it is seeking, the user fees will account for 66 percent or more of their drug-review budget.

So please realize that the FDA, as currently configured, cannot adequately protect your health. What it can, and does, do is help the multi-national drug companies increase their profits.

The Wall Street Journal Online September 1, 2006 (Subscription Required)

Northwest Florida Daily News September 1, 2006