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Press Release

Consumer Group Hails Votes as Major Victories for Public Health

09/17/1997

Citizens for a Sound Economy hailed today's votes by the Health and Environment Subcommittee to move Food and Drug Administration modernization to the full Commerce Committee. By voice vote, the subcommittee approved three separate bills to improve how the FDA regulates food (H.R. 2469), drugs (H.R. 1411) and medical devices (H.R. 1710).

"The FDA's sluggish, expensive and overly bureaucratic approval processes are a threat to the public health," said Michael Cannon, health care policy analyst for Citizens for a Sound Economy. "For years, patients and other consumers have begged Congress to stop the FDA from bottling up promising new drugs, medical devices and health information. These bills will streamline the FDA's approval processes, expand the amount of resources available for product approvals, and give patients greater access to healthful information on FDA-regulated products."

"These bills are far more moderate than last year's Kassebaum bill in the Senate or any of the three bills considered in the House, all of which CSE supported," said Cannon. "The bills' sponsors and other advocates of FDA modernization should be commended for making the many concessions necessary to build consensus."

"There comes a time, however, when concessions must end," he said. "The accredited-party review program under H.R. 1710 has already been limited to the simplest of medical devices. The provisions limiting FDA review to indications on a device's label are a moderate, commonsense approach toward bringing safe, effective devices to patients quickly. While CSE would like to see broader reform, these changes will bring immediate relief to countless patients," he added.

Cannon said that his organization will encourage the full Commerce Committee to approve the three FDA modernization bills as written for floor action, and will urge the full Senate to approve its own FDA reform bill (S.830) without further amendments.

Citizens for a Sound Economy is a 250,000-member grassroots organization which advocates free market solutions to public policy problems.