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March 13, 2019

Proposed NIH cuts, drug price hearings and new acting FDA administrator

Budget cuts could mean stagnation in GI research.

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President Trump unveils fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget. The president’s budget would cut Medicare by $845 billion over 10 years with most of the cuts coming from decreased reimbursement from providers. His budget would also cut NIH funding by $4.5 billion or 12 percent over current levels. His budget was met with opposition on Capitol Hill, especially among House Democrats. This comes after AGA advocated and secured a $2 billion increase in NIH funding for FY 2019. AGA continues to advocate increasing NIH funding to $41.6 billion for FY 2020.


Hearings on drug prices. House and Senate Committees continue to hold hearings on the costs of prescription drugs with the leaders of major pharmaceutical companies testifying before the Senate Finance Committee. The heads of the major pharmacy benefits managers (PBMs) will be next to testify before the Finance Committee. AGA remains concerned with the high costs of drugs especially for those patients with inflammatory bowel disease who use biologics.


NCI director named acting FDA administrator. Ned Sharpless, MD, who has served as the director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and has stressed the need for basic research to better understand cancer, has been named the acting director of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since current Administrator Scott Gottlieb announced he is stepping down. Dr. Sharpless has also prioritized retaining NCI’s workforce, particularly young researchers and ensuring that the pipeline is full.


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