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New authority and funding needed for FDA

May 1, 2008

Consumers Union Welcomes House Committee’s Commitment to Protect Nations’ Drug and Food Supply;
New Authority and Funding Needed for FDA

Washington, DC–In testimony before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Health, Energy, and Commerce, Consumers Union welcomed Chairman John Dingell’s commitment to reform the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and give the agency more funding and new powers, including the authority to recall unsafe drugs.
“The call for a major overhaul of the FDA has now become a roar,” says Ami Gadhia, Policy Counsel for Consumers Union, in prepared testimony. “The products regulated by this one agency represent about 25 cents of every consumer dollar spent, and are among the most intimate and important ones in our lives, including the drugs we take when we are sick and the medical devices implanted in our bodies. However, serious safety scares over the past few years have cast major doubt upon the ability of this beleaguered agency to adequately protect American consumers,” according to Gadhia.
The Committee is considering a Discussion Draft of the FDA Globalization Act, legislation that would give the FDA greater resources and new authority to recall food and drugs, provisions Consumers Union strongly supports. CU also supports country-of-origin labeling for produce, active pharmaceutical ingredients, biologics, and manufactured devices; creating a fee requirement for importers of cosmetics; registration fees for food facilities; and Congressional review if the FDA plans to close any of the 13 labs—all provisions in the draft legislation.
In today’s testimony, Consumers Union is urging the Committee to increase the frequency of drug facility inspections to at least once a year, and to increase the amount of civil penalties that would be levied upon companies that violate the law.
“We are pleased that this Discussion Draft gives FDA a number of new – and very necessary – additional powers to better ensure the safety of our food, drugs, devices, and cosmetics,” said Gadhia. “We look forward to working with the Committee to help move forward on the strongest FDA reform bill possible.”
For a complete copy of the testimony, click here.
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Jennifer Fuson
(202) 462-6262