Sen Arlen Specter (R, Pa) said the White House is delaying the swift provision of an additional $275 million to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by requesting that the funds be included in the fiscal year 2009 budget rather than the FDA’s current budget. The money is intended to help the agency protect the nation’s food supply, ensure safer drugs, and modernize its facilities.
Specter said he had worked to get the FDA an additional $275 million in the Senate version of the fiscal year 2008 supplemental appropriations bill, which, if approved, would provide the funds to the agency no later than September 30. In a June 10 letter to Michael Leavitt, secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Specter wrote that the Bush administration’s request is “drastically hindering necessary immediate relief” because the additional funding would not be provided until March or April 2009.
“The 81 deaths due to contaminated heparin and the 1 suspected death in the ongoing Salmonella outbreak show that we cannot wait 9 months to give the FDA the resources needed to protect the public,” Specter wrote.