FDA's Hamburg warns of biotech fallout as sequester debate drags on

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg had words of praise--wrapped in a not-so-subtle warning--when she addressed hundreds of biotech executives in Boston late last week.

The commissioner called Massachusetts a "biotech supercluster that's second to none," according to the Boston Herald. And that's why you can expect any fallout from the budget cuts demanded by sequestration to fall especially hard on the region.

"Sequestration has added an unexpected (challenge)," she told the group, adding that she hopes Congress will allow the agency to continue to spend all of the industry's user fees on drug reviews. "I wish in Washington our government system could be as efficient and congenial as yours. No region of the country or the world is doing more than this one. ... We need to work together to fix this problem in the short and long term. We simply cannot put on hold the progress that's been made."

The sequester has raised questions about cutbacks at the FDA, which could easily translate into significant delays on drug reviews. And the administration has been blunt in its warnings about the potential impact, hoping that more businesses will lend their voices to urge an end to the standoff between Democrats and Republicans.

- here's the report from the Boston Herald