A Bush administration request for an additional $275 million appropriation for the Food and Drug Administration includes money targeted for information technology systems to track products from consumers back to their manufacturers and for improving communications between federal, state and local testing laboratories, HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt said.
Leavitt and FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach announced the Bush administration would ask Congress for more money and to increase FDA authority during a news teleconference Monday. Combined with an increase in the original FDA request in the February Bush budget, Leavitt called for $404.7 million in higher spending at the FDA in fiscal 2009 than in fiscal 2008, a 17.8% boost that will include money for the addition of 490 new FDA jobs.
Leavitt said the $275 million request will be used for: Establishing additional foreign offices, possibly including Central America, China and India; building on work to recognize independent certifications of products to the FDA standards; increasing technical assistance on food standards to countries that export to the U.S.; conducting more risk-based inspections of foreign food and medical product facilities; developing and implementing a system of trace back from product consumption back to the source of production; and improving technology to facilitate networking between the FDA and federal, state and local testing laboratories and improved facilities to expand the FDAs laboratory capacity.
The proposed IT spending, von Eschenbach said, will enable us to acquire data and information, to assemble it, to analyze it and act upon it with rapidity and efficiency and most importantly, with accuracy, to make the right decisions that are going to be necessary to prevent problems from occurring, to intervene when necessary and to respond when problems occur.