Former Commissioners Applaud FDA Budget Increase

The FDA Alliance, an organization whose 100+ members include six former FDA Commissioners,  issued a statement today applauding the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture's allocation of $1.755 billion to the FDA's 2008 Fiscal year budget.  The figure represents a 12%,  $186-million increase over last year's budget and the largest increase for the Agency in five years. "FDA has long suffered from inadequate staffing and resources," commented former Commissioner Don Kennedy. "It is clear from our meetings with members of Congress that they recognize FDA's important roles as the nation's premier consumer protection agency, and as a vital gateway for innovative technologies that advance patient cures and meet the many needs of consumers."  And presumably, everyone at FDA will get to keep their bonuses. Interesting how Michigan Democrat Art Stupak criticized those FDA bonuses yesterday.  Especially in light of the fact that lawmakers recently voted to increase U.S. Representatives' salaries by $4,400 to almost $170,000. As FDA spokesman Rob Ali explained in an interview with NPR yesterday, the Agency employs physicians, pharmacists, scientists, biostatisticians and Ph.D.'s.  What is $5,000 in the face of a circa- $150,000 salary that's less than half  of what many of them would earn in industry?  How many U.S. legislators have M.D.'s or Ph.D.'s? -AMS