President Obama said his administration would focus on modernizing the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, an agency not prepared to handle emerging 21st century challenges in regulating food and drugs.

“I’ve gotten a lot of commentary about the fact that … essentially their model was designed for the kind of medical devices you see in museums,” said Obama during a presidential panel on jobs and competitiveness late last week, according to Financial Times.

“So that would be an area where [we should be] getting a group to think strategically about how … [we design] these regulatory bodies so that they are up to speed and more responsive to a dynamic economy,” added Obama, according to FT.

The comments come as the White House is continuing a push to reexamine and reform burdensome federal regulations in an effort to boost American job creation.

Food and drug regulation seem to be an area the administration considers in need of modernization. In his FY 2012 budget, Obama proposed a 33 percent increase in FDA’s budget to $4.3 billion at a time when most agency budget are flatlined to respond to concerns about budget deficits. 

  • Gabrielle Meunier

    There seems to be no doubt that the Agency needs more food inspectors, but I truly hope that they look at their Agency as a whole to find improvements. To “modernize” any government agency is not just about throwing money at a problem. But I believe all Agencies should be re-looking and re-designing their business models to work more efficiently with the resources that they have.

  • Glenn Neuman

    The medical device arm of FDA would do well to employ their own quality system management regulations in their internal operations. That would help identify short falls in resources, assess and correct internal deficiencies and ensure consistency in their reviews.
    I agree with Gabrielle, in that throwing money at a problem (especially when the government does it) is like throwing it into the wind, and hoping that some small fraction of it covers the problem. FDA is over-worked, but perhaps some of that work is self-imposed and unproductive bureaucracy and over-regulation. Industry must to their part to ensure excellence in their products; a few bad examples is all it takes to bring down the hammer on everyone.