According to The Wall Street Journal, U.S. President Donald Trump’s 2018 budget cuts the direct funding to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by 31%, and includes a $108 million cut in food funding (8%). Under the Trump plan, the cuts would be offset by an increase in user fees. For the food industry, this would mean a $54 million increase in animal drug and animal generic drug user fees.

FDA officials say this plan is unrealistic, mostly because the fees have already been negotiated with the industry and cannot be substantially increased. The two-year negotiations were concluded earlier this year and cannot easily be reopened, they say. In a letter to Tom Price, secretary of Health and Human Services, Sen. Lamar Alexander (R., Tenn.), chairman of the Senate’s health committee, wrote that the Trump plan to increase user fees was “an interesting proposal” but not useful in the 2018 budget. “It is way too late to have an impact on this year’s agreements, which have been negotiated over the last two years,” he wrote to Price.

“We are especially concerned because Congress has made clear that these additional user fees will not be adopted,” said Troy Zimmerman, president of the Alliance for a Stronger FDA, a multi-stakeholder advocacy group, in a press release criticizing Trump’s budget. “Thus, the administration has not proposed a viable pathway for the agency to avoid a 31% cut in FDA’s BA [budget authority] appropriation.”

The Wall Street Journal article

Alliance for a Stronger FDA statement (pdf)

2018 FDA budget

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