The Trump White House released a Statement of Administration Policy on Wednesday in response to the House of Representatives’ passage of H.R. 2430, a bill that would reauthorize the use of four FDA user fee programs: the Prescription Drug User Fee Act, the Medical Device User Fee Amendments, the Generic Drug User Fee Amendments, and the Biosimilar User Fee Act.
The Trump Administration’s Statement includes the following recommendation:
“The Administration urges the Congress to provide for 100 percent user fee funding within the reauthorized programs. In an era of renewed fiscal restraint, industries that benefit directly from FDA’s work should pay for it.”
This call for the FDA to be fully funded by user fees paid by medical-device and pharmaceutical companies echoes previous statements from the Trump White House. In May, the Trump Administration released its budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2018, which called for the elimination of federal funding of premarketing review programs at FDA. Trump’s budget proposed that FDA user fees should be recalibrated from approximately $1.2 billion in 2017 to over $2.4 billion in 2018. The FDA currently receives about 60% of its funding for premarketing review from user fees.
Scott Gottlieb, the newly confirmed FDA commissioner, has expressed his support for increasing user fees as a way for funding FDA activities. FDA’s budget request for 2018 seeks $3.2 billion in user fees—a reported increase of 68 percent from 2017 levels.
Some industry experts have expressed concern that a large increase in FDA user fees could discourage innovation and keep smaller companies such as digital startups from entering the market. Increasing FDA user fees would also complicate existing user fee agreements that FDA negotiated with the medical device industry last summer.
While the future of user fees remains uncertain, the Trump Administration and FDA’s persistence in calling for higher user fees suggests that fee hikes could be looming—a development that could have major effects on the medical device industry.