Funding Faster Relief

A new proposal would beef up the FDA by allowing it to charge user fees

The gripes are all but constant, and the complainers range from drug-company officials to AIDS activists -- all blaming logjams at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for long delays in the process of approving and distributing potentially life saving drugs. The current boom in biotechnology research, which is likely to unleash new products at unprecedented rates over the next few years, has only exacerbated the problem. But with its limited staff, the FDA has proceeded just about as fast as is safely possible.

Now a proposal that has won the tentative backing of both the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry...

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