Monday, August 06, 2007

Drug Safety...or Food Safety...or Tobacco Safety...or Pet Food Safety...or Dietary Supplement Safety?

So which is most important to you? Well, if you're in charge of FDA, they all are. That came through loud and clear during a health care reporters breakfast with commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach organized by the folks at Health Affairs.

But fortunately for us here at the IN VIVO Blog, we only have to worry about drugs and biologics. With Congress taking off for their August recess, it looks like the Prescription Drug User Fee Act reauthorization as part of the much grander FDARA drug bill will have to wait until September to get passed.

So wait, doesn't that mean droves of FDA employees will be out of a job come September 1st because there will be no money to pay them (FDA gets half of its drug review budget from user fees)? Not so much. Von Eschenbach said the agency has already dipped into "carry-over" funds to ensure the agency will run smoothly while they wait for lawmakers to act. He expects/hopes the bill will pass in the first few days when the House and Senate come back from recess. Von Eschenbach emphasized he was working very closely with specific players in Congress to make sure that happens. The "carry-over" money, which seems to have magically appeared, is enough to last a couple of months before FDA would have to send out lay-off notices.

The RPM Report will be hosting a webinar on August 14 in partnership with the law firm Ropes & Gray to explain the commercial impact of the new drug safety rules for pharma and biotech companies. This will be the first in a series of audioconferences on the pending drug safety reforms.

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