Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, aimed to revitalize the Food and Drug Administration Wednesday by introducing a bill to pay its top scientists more, to consolidate its facilities and to provide long-need computerization.
"If we are going to ask the FDA to give Americans confidence in our food supply, our medicines, medical devices and cosmetics for the next 50 years, we in Congress have the responsibility for giving the FDA the resources to do this job," Hatch said.About the problem of low salaries at the FDA, Hatch said, "All of our health agencies face real recruiting problems because of inadequate salaries. This legislation establishes a Senior Scientific Health Service to pay these top scientists."
About the need for better automation and consolidation, he said, "The FDA is located in 23 buildings scattered around Washington, a situation that cries out for a solution.
"The shelves in those 23 buildings are bulging with reams of paper because of no centralized computer system. For instance, a new drug review application is over 100,000 pages and FDA receives 15,000 applications a year."
Hatch is the ranking Republican on the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, which oversees the FDA and related health matters.