A proposed boost in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration funding is making biotech companies smile -- as the money could help speed up the grueling approval process for new treatments and devices.
On Tuesday, a Senate appropriations subcommittee voted to give the FDA a $1.75 billion budget -- a $186 million increase.. That "represents the most significant increase in the FDA's budget in recent memory," said Jim Greenwood, president of the Biotechnology Industry Association.
"This will greatly enhance the ability of biotechnology pioneers to get life-enhancing and life-saving therapies out of research labs and into the hands of patients as quickly as possible."
The FDA has been under increased pressure to step up its vigilance over the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry in the wake of problems with approved drugs such as Merck's Vioxx arthritis treatment. Both the House of Representatives and the Senate have recently approved bills strengthening the agency's power.