A proposal in Congress to boost funding for the FDA makes a lot of sense. But don’t stop there, Congress - a super-sized FDA would help solve many of the issues around drug safety. Make sure it’s truly independent, though, and free from pressures from the pharmaceutical industry, brought upon it by a lack of resources. Drug research reformists often suggest creating an independent clinical trials agency to perform trials for the industry, but that’s a far-fetched and unworkable solution.
AHAA lot of those calls come from academics who occasionally have as many conflicts of interest as other stakeholders in drug research. A fully funded FDA would create more checks and balances in the industry, and help it to ensure that quality data was being produced in clinical trials, to a much greater extent than it can now.
Some public citizen groups say that the user fees the pharmaceutical companies pay corrupt the process. But one could see how taking away that funding and adding more federal money to make the FDA viable would be a political stretch, given the current federal budget deficit. But if user fees stayed at the same level and Congress backed a large jump in public funding, then user fees would become a smaller percentage of the overall budget, reducing the potential for conflicts.
The agency to ensure drug safety is already in place. Make it independent by pumping up its funding.