The $50m boost is in line with the Senate’s recommendation, $337m above an earlier proposal from the House of Representatives – and is $234m less than the President’s request for FDA funding. The extra funding would be intended to allow implementation of the Food Safety Modernization Act, which was signed into law on January 4, as well as boost bioterrorism countermeasures.
The Alliance for a Stronger FDA, which includes consumer and research groups, companies, trade associations, and individuals, praised the move.
Alliance Board member and managing director, Science and Regulatory Affairs at the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) Andrew Emmett said: “FDA’s overall mission and responsibilities continue to grow each year... In addition to new mandates, the agency faces increased challenges from globalization of our food and drug supplies and the increasing scientific complexity of regulatory filings.”
The Food Safety Modernization Act was estimated to cost about $1.4bn over five years to implement, but disagreement over funding has continued to shadow the new law.
FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg has said that extra funding was needed to increase inspection frequency and hire the approximately 2,000 extra inspectors necessary for its implementation.
Meanwhile, USDA agricultural research funding was dented in the bill, with a provision for $2.5bn, a decrease of $53m on 2011 levels.
The bill, which was release late on Monday, is the first conferenced spending bill to go through Congress since 2009. It incorporates three of 12 appropriations bills, and represents a total of $1.043 trillion – a decrease in spending of $7bn compared to last year.