The House Appropriations Committee released the fiscal year 2013 Agriculture Appropriations bill, which, sets proposed spending levels for FDA as well as for other programs. The bill calls for nearly $ 2.5 billion in discretionary funding, a cut of $16.3 million, or 0.7%, below last year’s level. Total proposed funding for the FDA, including user fees, is $3.8 billion.
The Advocacy for a Strong FDA, an advocacy group with members that include nonprofit groups, pharmaceutical companies, and pharmaceutical trade associations, posted a draft breakout of the specific funding levels proposed in the bill with a comparison to last year’s funding. Funding for food would remain unchanged over 2012 levels, funding for human drugs would increase slightly, while funding for biologics and devices and radiological health would decline. In their press release, The Advocacy for a Strong FDA says, “While a significant improvement from last year, we look forward to understanding better the Committee’s reasoning in cutting the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, as well as the apparent lack of funding for three of the Commissioner’s priorities: a China import initiative, funding to implement the Food Safety and Modernization Act, and purchasing scientific equipment to outfit the new biosciences building scheduled to open in FY 13.”
FDA is not being singled out by the House for reduced funding—in total, the legislation includes $19.4 billion in discretionary funding, a cut of $365 million below last year’s level, and a cut of $1.7 billion below the President’s budget request. The proposed budget includes cuts over last year’s funding for diverse programs, including conservation, rural economic development, agriculture research, food safety inspection service, and animal and plant health. While those of us in pharma may care greatly about FDA’s funding, for the House it’s just another line item.