MARCH 01, 2008

Members of Congress and others are lining up in opposition to the Bush administration's budget proposals for fiscal year 2009. The budget includes >$200 billion in cuts to Medicare and Medicaid programs. Critics also worry that the funding proposals will not address escalating concerns raised by scientists and others over the FDA's capacity to meet ever-growing demands on its services and low morale at the agency.

The budget again seeks to limit the reimbursement pharmacies receive for Medicaid prescriptions, proposing a reduction from 250% to 150% of the Average Manufacturers Price (AMP). The Government Accountability Office has already calculated that a federal upper limit set at a maximum of 250% of AMP will lead to reimbursements to pharmacies falling 36% below acquisition costs, according to the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA).

NCPA Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer Bruce Roberts, RPh, stated, "President Bush's efforts to rein in government spending place a dangerous target on health care," he said.

The administration is recommending an FDA budget increase of $130 million, but the sum is "inadequate to tackle the problems of the agency," according to Rep John Dingell (D, MI), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

Subcommittee on Oversight Chairman Rep Bart Stupak (D, MI) recently called for FDA commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach to resign.