How to Get Safe New Drugs Quickly
May 24th, 2012
In a rare moment of bipartisanship on a health care issue, the Senate is poised to pass the Food & Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (S. 3187). This bill would continue the very successful practice of collecting user fees from drug and device companies so that the FDA has enough money to swiftly approve new products. Leaders in both parties have worked closely together to bring this bill to the floor despite a highly charged atmosphere on Capitol Hill. We are glad to see that the bill will continue to ensure the economic and health benefits of a robust FDA approval process for years to come.
The only remaining obstacle in the Senate is a handful of highly controversial floor amendments that go beyond the scope of the legislation. They address issues like the reimportation of drugs from Canada and other countries, legal battles over brand name drugs turning generic, and changes to penalties for violations of the FDA Act. Adoption of any of these amendments in this legislation would threaten the future of the bill. The House, which has yet to act, would have every reason to include its own set of controversial amendments, making final passage of the legislation difficult, if not impossible, before the September 30, 2012 deadline. Delay as a result of controversial riders would therefore force the FDA to lay off thousands of employees involved in medical drug approvals, causing lengthy delays as well as widespread economic uncertainty.
The Senate can start reversing the country’s record low regard of government by passing the Food & Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act. Third Way urges Congress to pass this legislation without poison pill amendments.