Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Price of Safety

Don't look for drug and medical device prices to come down anytime soon.
(WSJ) Showing that legislation to overhaul drug-safety laws has strong bipartisan support, members of the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee approved the nine bills on voice votes. The legislation, which also would renew programs that let the FDA charge fees to drug and medical-device companies that help fund the agency, is similar to many provisions contained in a single FDA bill that swept the Senate last month 93-1. The full House Energy and Commerce Committee takes up the legislation tomorrow, and a full House vote is likely in July.
Who do we think is going to pay these fees?
The FDA had proposed collecting $393 million from drug companies next year. Drug companies would pay an additional $50 million under the Senate bill and an additional $225 under the House bill over five years. Much of the extra money would be used to fund drug-safety monitoring programs. Both the House and Senate bills would also authorize the FDA to collect about $287 million in fees over the next five years from medical-device firms.
I assure you, with profit incentives, it won't be the drug and device companies.

-Wes

2 comments:

Meg B. said...

With the medical devices industry worth about $90 billion in the US, this additional fee to the FDA would hardly even be felt in firms' bottom lines. (Not that I disagree that they'll likely just pass the increase along to consumers/hospitals/insurance companies...)

But if this is the system that achieves some semblance of FDA oversight, monitoring of trends in drug side effects and crack down on pharmaceutical companies that break the law then I'm all for it.

What IS the price of safety? If it's $287 million, and it's paid for by the drug/devices industry, you won't hear arguments from me.

Meg B. said...

39-0 in House Energy and Commerce yesterday - looks like this one's going to the floor!