Leader Urges Congress Not to Worsen FDA Crisis

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A report documenting that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is understaffed, underfunded and underperforming is all the evidence Congress should need to reject proposed legislation that would add responsibility for tobacco regulation to that overburdened agency.

That's the message sent to Congress today by Jim Martin, President of 60 Plus, a national senior advocacy organization. Referring to the report issued Friday by the FDA's Science and Advisory Board, Martin sent a letter to the House Energy and Commerce Committee urging them not to add to the FDA's problems by voting in favor of the tobacco regulation legislation.

The legislation Martin asked the committee to reject is known as the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (H.R. 1108). It would force the FDA to take on wide-ranging responsibility for all facets of tobacco regulation - regulation that is either unnecessary or already handled by other agencies.

"For several years now we've heard warnings that the FDA is approaching a crisis in its ability to deliver on its core mission of protecting the purity of America's food and drug supplies and this report clearly confirms that the crisis has arrived." Martin wrote to the committee. "America's senior citizens would rather see Congress shoring up the agency in response to the chronic weaknesses documented in the report, not adding to the FDA's problems."

The Advisory Report stated that the FDA is under-funded and under-staffed to the point of putting U.S. consumers at risk in terms of food and drug safety. Many of the FDA's current problems were linked to an expansion of the agency's responsibilities over the years without a corresponding increase in staff or funding.

"Unnecessarily adding to the FDA's regulatory duties now seems unthinkable," Martin said. "It would be like hitching an extra trailer to a 16-wheeler that can't pull the load it's already hauling."

SOURCE The 60 Plus Association