April 2011

Congress Approves Increased Funding for FDA

On April 14 Congress passed a Fiscal Year 2011 Continuing Resolution (H.R. 1473) which added $107 million to Fiscal Year 2010 funding levels for the Food and Drug Administration. This bill contained numerous cuts to other health agency budgets including the National Institutes of Health, however, most acknowledge that the agreement is far superior to the alternative funding proposal, H.R. 1. H.R. 1, which had previously passed the House of Representatives, would have cut FDA’s funding by as much as $241 million.

Under the terms of the Continuing Resolution, the FDA will receive $2.462 billion in budget authority appropriations for FY11. Human drug activities will be funded at $ 478 million. Food safety programs will receive almost half of the $107 million increase.

Through their actions to provide an increase in FY11 for FDA, congressional champions have demonstrated the importance they place on supporting the Agency even in tough economic times. Some members of the House of Representatives recently put forth a proposed Fiscal Year 2012 budget for the federal government that attempts to achieve $4 trillion in savings over 10 years. To accomplish this, the proposal would set government programs back to their Fiscal Year 2008 funding levels. FDA would be cut by approximately 25%, or $600-700 million. We hope FDA champions will sustain their commitment to the Agency, as funding deliberations for Fiscal Year 2012 move forward.

CNN to Air Special on the Alzheimer’s Epidemic

On May 1 CNN will air a Larry King special, premiering at 8pm ET/PT titled “Unthinkable: the Alzheimer’s Epidemic.”. The one-hour special will look into Alzheimer’s disease, who gets it and why. It will also highlight the race to find effective treatments and a possible cure.

King will be joined by people who have been touched by Alzheimer’s disease and will include interviews with former First Lady Laura Bush and California’s former First Lady and Alzheimer’s activist Maria Shriver; actors Seth Rogen, and  Angie Dickinson; TV host Leeza Gibbons; football star Terrell Owens and  son of President Ronald Reagan, Ron Reagan. Neurosurgeon and CNN chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta will explain what Alzheimer’s is and how this disease affects the human brain.

In addition to visiting the Mayo Clinic, Larry King will visit theLou RuvoCenterfor Brain Health at the Cleveland Clinic inLas Vegaswith Ron Reagan. While there, one of them will take a brain scan that will indicate if he is at risk for Alzheimer’s or other memory disorders. The results will be shared with the audience and they will talk to Dr. Jeffrey Cummings, Director, ClevelandClinicLou RuvoCenterfor Brain Health and Larry Ruvo, philanthropist and visionary, to see how doctors are treating patients and what people can do to diminish their risk for Alzheimer’s. The special hour will also broadcast on CNNi and will re-air on Saturday, May 7 at 8pm ET/PT.

For more information, visit http://www.cnn.com/SPECIALS/2011/larryking/.