A question from Leslie Hawkins of Indianapolis, IN:
It seems that the federal government is intent on nosing into more and more areas. Do you think that the FDA will become like the EPA? An agency with power to deny people the right to make a living and that intrudes into the lives everyday people.?
Rep. Sununu responds:
Because of its role in regulating and approving most every medical device, material, or new drug (from bandages to disinfectant creme to medical, imaging equipment), the FDA is already a significant part of our everyday lives.
As this agency has grown over the last 15 years (an 80% budget increase since 1985), the process and procedures for bringing new technology to market have been impeded by layers of bureaucracy and red tape.
The FDA reform proposal now under consideration by the Commerce Committee provides much needed improvements to this regulatory agency. This pending legislation will reduce the cost associated with new medical products and technology by allowing independent review of simple devices, strengthening the trial process for childrens' drugs, and expediting the review of incremental product changes. A similar FDA reform measure is scheduled for a vote in the Senate this week.
Rep. Carson responds:
I do not believe the FDA will gain more power to intrude into business. Currently, the FDA has not executed much of its regulatory powers. A good example of this is in the realm of food safety. However, the FDA's agenda is to protect people from potential dangers in our food and drug supply, and to regulate when necessary. That is a mandate I support so long as it can be done with efficiency and without overt intrusiveness.