By MATTHEW PERRONE,
The Food and Drug Administration must update its scientific tools for reviewing prescription drugs, medical devices and
tracking food safety, according to a research plan laid out Wednesday by agency leadership.
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg said the agency will spend $25 million in the coming year on collaborations with outside scientists from academia, government and industry. In a speech at the National Press Club,
“Regulatory science can deliver us better, more targeted therapies, more quickly,”
The FDA oversees the safety of nearly one-fourth of goods sold in the
The federal agency is looking to collaborate on a host of projects, including efforts to predict the side effects of drugs based on the genetic code of individual patients, to reduce or eliminate drug testing on animals and to prevent the spread of salmonella and other bacteria in the food supply.
Modernization is a perennial theme for FDA leadership as the agency struggles to keep up with the evolving science behind the latest drugs, devices and even foods. Last month the agency held a three-day meeting on the safety of a genetically modified salmon that grows twice as fast as the naturally bred fish.
But federal funding for the agency traditionally has lagged behind the agency’s budget requests, giving rise to a series of user fee programs in which drugmakers and medical device makers help pay for the agency’s review of their products.
The $25 million investment cited by
If Republicans regain control of the House in November, the FDA’s Obama-appointed leadership could face an even tougher time securing funding increases for the agency.
“There is no other agency in government that does what we do,”
“As in other areas, the effectiveness of FDA’s food safety program depends on the strength and capacity of the science underlying it,” the agency paper states.
In 2007, the agency’s outside panel of science advisers said the FDA was in danger of failing in its mission because of a lack of scientific expertise.