ASCO Shares FDA Funding Priorities with Congress

April 11, 2023

The Association for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is urging lawmakers to prioritize reducing drug shortages, combatting tobacco use, and improving diversity in research as they review funding requests for fiscal year 2024.

In testimony submitted yesterday to the House Committee on Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, ASCO applauded the Subcommittee’s bipartisan leadership for increasing funding for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2023 and urged lawmakers to continue that commitment for 2024 by appropriating $3.914 billion to the agency.

“Over the last 30 years the cancer death rate has fallen 33%; progress that would not have been possible without innovative treatments,” wrote Lori J. Pierce, MD, FASTRO, FASCO, Chair of the Board for the Association for Clinical Oncology, in her testimony. “The pace of scientific insight is speeding breakthroughs in diagnostics and treatments and the FDA has been crucial to ensuring these advances are safe, effective, and available to patients with cancer.

“Robust funding is necessary to sustain this progress. American lives depend on it.”

ASCO’s testimony also noted that congressional funding helps the FDA mitigate drug shortages by expediting facility inspections, fast-tracking new and/or generic drug applications, and temporarily importing products from foreign manufacturing sources. The agency is also actively engaged with ASCO and other stakeholders to identify issues and possible solutions to sustain a healthy drug supply chain.

ASCO also urged the Subcommittee to continue supporting making clinical trials more diverse, noting that during the pandemic, the FDA and other relevant agencies quickly issued temporary policies—including telehealth and remote clinics—that helped increase both overall participation and enhanced diversity in patient trials. In the testimony ASCO said it is eager for those policies to be extended.

Regarding combatting tobacco use, ASCO said the FDA is important to stemming the tide of new tobacco-related cancer cases and the Association “strongly supports FDA’s role in regulating flavored tobacco and electronic nicotine devices, specifically ensuring America’s young people do not have access to these products.”

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