Friday, March 11, 2011

Economic Impact of FDA: Compelling Case to Strengthen Agency

A new white paper released this week by the Alliance for a Stronger FDA says that a robust FDA is essential to continued growth of the U.S. economy. “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration: A Cornerstone of America’s Economic Future” details how the FDA creates jobs, saves and improves lives, secures a safe food supply, and protects society from terrorist threats and infectious diseases.

“No agency with a critical role like FDA’s should be asked to do more, with less,” said Margaret Anderson, vice president of the Alliance and executive director of FasterCures. “If we are to advance medical progress and improve patients’ lives—which will significantly bolster the US economy—we need to start making the FDA a national priority.”

The FDA already plays an important, tangible role in Americans’ lives and the U.S. economy – FDA-regulated industries account for 25 percent of U.S. consumer spending, from cell phones to toothpaste. Consider that the bioscience industry, which depends on FDA for regulation of its products, directly employed 1.42 million people in the United States in 2008 and generated an additional 8 million related jobs.

Additionally, consider how medical breakthroughs that go through FDA’s rigorous regulatory process can improve patient outcomes and have a positive economic impact. For example, the Alzheimer’s Association has determined that a breakthrough that delays the onset of Alzheimer’s disease by five years would mean 1.6 million fewer Americans would have Alzheimer’s, and the United States could save $50 billion per year in medical costs within five years of the approval of such a product.

At FasterCures, we have long advocated for an FDA fully equipped with the resources and expertise it needs to keep pace with the changing research technology and to apply 21st Century scientific principles to regulatory practices and policies. With appropriate resources, the FDA can help drive innovation, catalyze the economy, and serve the public health needs of the American people.

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