House passes bill to strengthen FDA authority and funding

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Earlier this week, the United States House of Representatives passed legislation that, if enacted, would provide additional funding and authority to the Food and Drug Administration. The bill, passed by a bipartisan vote of 387 for, 5 against, is intended to give the FDA the resources and power to prevent shortages of medication and review medical devices in a more timely manner. By charging pharmaceutical distributors a higher fee to inspect their manufacturing facilities in foreign countries and offering financial incentives to manufacturers for developing new antibiotic medications to treat illnesses with few treatment options, the legislation would allow the FDA to better monitor the quality of imported medical products and encourage breakthrough treatments for conditions that have previously received less attention from drugmakers. Last week, the Senate passed its own version of this legislation by nearly unanimous vote. Now leaders from both houses of the United States Congress will confer to reach a compromise on any differences between the two bills before the legislation is brought to the President. While both versions of the legislation give the Food and Drug Administration the authority to require medication manufacturers to report supply shortages in time to allow the administration to organize increased production at other companies to prevent drug scarcity, the Senate and House bills disagree on which antibiotic medications would qualify for incentives and some of the details of the medical device approval process.