Tuesday, September 21, 2010

News from Congress

Pharmalot is reporting today that four Congressional Democrats have released what is called a ‘discussion draft’ that, if adopted, would increase funding and authority for the FDA to monitor drug production - both domestically and overseas - in hopes of improving safety in the wake of the Heparin scandal and other recent episodes that questioned foreign production of meds sold in the US. Go here for the full story. Also, AboutLawsuits is reporting (here) that a number of powerful lobbying groups, including business and grocery interests, are lining up behind legislation that would give the FDA more power to regulate the food industry, including the ability to quickly force recalls. Unfortunately, this bill is not likely to pass any time soon. As AboutLawsuits states, "although the bill has enjoyed bipartisan support, there are some Republicans who believe the bill will be too much of a burden on growers and food producers, and fear that the FDA will become “trigger happy” with its newfound recall power. The bill is currently stalled due to an objection by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK). Reid has said that the Senate would be unlikely to overcome the objections by Coburn before the midterm election break." Picking up on this part of the story,The PopTort and the New York Times are reporting how Congress is stalling on a number of tort related bills, including a food safety bill, mine safety legislation and legislation to help the families of 11 workers killed in a recent mine explosion. Go here for the story in The PopTort, and here for the story in the New York Times.

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