Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price penned a letter to Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) asking the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions committee to consider increasing user fees that the medical device and drug industries pay to the FDA, while slashing the agency’s budget.
“To ensure the FDA has the critical resources needed to keep pace with this field, the President’s Budget Blueprint proposes to increase and restructure the medical product user fee programs at FDA to be 100% user fee supported programs, with no funding triggers that require budget authority financing,” Price wrote.
The call from Price to cut congressional appropriations for the FDA comes just months before the reauthorization bill must be passed and signed into law. Reauthorizing user fees between the industries and the FDA is a process that takes years of negotiation.
“Democrats and Republicans in Congress have worked together on reauthorizing the user fee agreements to ensure the FDA can meet its responsibilities to patients and families across the country—so it is disappointing that President Trump continues to attempt to inject partisanship into an otherwise bipartisan process. Today’s proposal from the Administration would upend our work and if implemented, leave the FDA hamstrung and without the federal investments it relies on to carry out its important public health work. I hope and expect that Republicans and Democrats alike will reject it,” Murray said in a statement this week.
Committee chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) said that the secretary’s request “can be considered the next time the FDA negotiates the user fee agreements with the manufacturers of drugs and devices, but it is way too late to have an impact on this year’s agreements,” according to Politico.