The House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a bill that helps fund the Food and Drug Administration and gives it new authority to prevent drug shortages and speed reviews of medical devices.
Passed by a vote of 387-5, the bill also helps ensure the safety of drugs imported from abroad by collecting higher fees from companies to fund FDA inspections of foreign facilities, and gives drugmakers incentives to make antibiotics for conditions where few treatments exist.
The Senate passed its own version of the bill last week with a near-unanimous vote, and leaders from both sides of Congress must now meet to iron out any differences. House leaders said they are aiming to agree on a final bill by July 4.
The main purpose of the bill is to reauthorize fees from makers of drugs and devices that help speed FDA evaluation of new medical products. These so-called "user fees" could make up nearly half of the FDA's proposed $4.5 billion budget next year, according to a plan from President Barack Obama.
Since the bill provides such a large chunk of FDA funding, it is considered a "must-pass" measure that can serve as a vehicle for broader FDA-related changes. . .View Full Article