Administration to Split FDA?
The Associated Press reports that drug makers are quietly hopeful that recent appointments signal an agency-level bifurcation between food safety and drug safety responsibilities:
Drug industry advocates are quietly allying with some of their longtime critics pushing to split the Food and Drug Administration into two agencies, one for food safety and one for medical products.
President Barack Obama bolstered hopes for a breakup last Saturday when he named two public health specialists to the agency’s top positions and appointed an advisory group to reassess the nation’s decades-old food safety laws.
Drug executives see a chance to speed up drug approvals that have lagged amid a drought of new products, provided their regulator is no longer distracted by high-profile food-safety breakdowns.
Other ideas have also been floated in the past for the creation of an over-arching food safety agency. But if a split is in the works, there have to be sufficient resources ready to tackle the problems FDA will still face, which include missing review deadlines on 20 percent of 2008 drug applications (according to the AP), a problem that could be compounded by workforce issues. As Virginia Cox points out in her chapter on FDA in Change for America: “Almost 50 percent of [FDA] managers and supervisors are eligible for retirement in the next five years.”
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