By Troy Zimmerman, National Kidney Foundation’s Vice President of Government Relations
The news reported out of our nation’s Capital is increasingly focused on what isn’t being accomplished instead of what’s been done. While the news is overwhelmingly negative, successes do continue to occur that will help kidney disease patients. One such success is the recent approval by the House and Senate Appropriations Committees to fund the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for 2018. Both Committees have recommended $2.76 billion for FDA, representing the same level as that provided in 2017. In a year in which many programs are being reduced by 10 percent or more, this success is a very welcome development.
Every day, Americans use consumer products with confidence that they are safe and effective. What they probably do not realize is the important role FDA plays. This agency oversees products that represent 20% of consumer spending, including not only food and drugs, but also medical devices, dietary supplements, personal care products such as cosmetics, animal feed and drugs, and even cell phones and fluorescent lamps! No other public or private entity can fill this role, yet FDA’s mission is increasingly complicated with global trade resulting in more imported food (including fruits and vegetables) and more imported drugs.
NKF is a member of the Alliance for a Stronger FDA (“the Alliance”), which brings together non-profit organizations, companies, professional trade associations and others to advocate for FDA funding. The Alliance has helped build strong bipartisan support in Congress to enable FDA to fulfill its responsibilities. Each year, the Alliance hosts a Capitol Hill Day to meet with congressional offices whose Members serve on committees with jurisdiction over FDA. I am amazed at the unequivocal support NKF receives in our meetings and this year was no different. Working together, the Alliance members help ensure an FDA strong enough to keep kidney patients safe.
This morning I took a daily prescription medication, fed a pet and had a cup of coffee. Three examples of FDA’s responsibilities in only the first hour of my day! The next time you use an everyday product, it very well may be impacted by FDA, whose mission can be met only at the federal level.