In a move that will dishearten many, the United States Senate voted 94-1 AGAINST a bill that would, in the words of the lone senator who voted against it, Senator Bernie Sanders, because the FDA bill “does nothing to lower drug prices and is a giveaway to the pharmaceutical industry,” his spokesperson said. Trump is expected to sign this bill into law.
Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has been campaigning for a long time on the issue of drug prices, in a quest to allow Americans to purchase their prescriptions from Canada, a move supported at one time by Republican Senator Rand Paul.
The FDA user-fee agreements, which are renegotiated every five years with the makers of prescription brand drugs, medical devices, generic drugs and biosimilars, fund nearly half of the FDA’s operations. The agency would have to layoff more than 5,000 employees if the agreements are not reauthorized before the end of September. A reauthorization delay would also postpone the review of many drugs and devices. The bill passed 94-1, with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) as the lone holdout.
The bill would allow the FDA to hire more staffers, speed up approvals and create a more defined review process of drugs and devices, which could help healthcare companies streamline operations, supporters argue. Critics say that the rising fees disproportionately affect smaller companies, and expediting the review of drugs and medical devices could compromise quality.
The FDA is no stranger to criticism, especially from real foodies. Celebrity Chef Jamie Oliver from England has attacked the FDA himself publicly, for example, taking on so-called “pink slime,” which is allowed in the American meat supply.