Legislation that would renew the U.S. FDA’s user fee programs is stuck in process on Capitol Hill, a predicament that seems to resist resolution to date. FDA commissioner Robert Califf said on a July 12 webinar that the FDA “is a decision-making machine” that is reliant on both user fees and congressional appropriations, and that a failure on the part of Congress to act on user fee legislation may force the agency to halt new hires and possibly lay off some FDA staff.
Several telehealth bills are in circulation on Capitol Hill, but U.S. federal government agencies have expressed concerns about the potential for fraud and abuse, and the impact on Medicare spending. Despite those concerns, two key members of the House Energy and Commerce (E&C) Committee, Reps. Frank Pallone (D-N.J.) and Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.), said during a March 2 hearing that they have misgivings about those cautionary views of telehealth, suggesting that any related legislation will aggressively expand Medicare coverage of telehealth.
The latest version of legislation for regulatory reform has arrived, and the conventional wisdom may be that the Verifying Accurate, Leading-Edge IVCT Development (VALID) Act will not be passed until the next user fee agreement is codified into law. Nonetheless, Susan Van Meter, executive director of AdvamedDx, told BioWorld that the associated reforms are urgently needed by patients and test developers alike, and there is consequently no need to wait for user fee legislation to pass the VALID Act.