Taxpayers Need to Cough up the Cash to Keep Federal Agencies Afloat

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As we continue to debate the proper size and role of government in society, cast your eyes on recent polls by Gallup and Pew that found the majority of Americans felt their income tax was fair.

Delving further, Pew found people prefer better government over spending cuts. But with about 40% of the FDA's budget coming from companies that pay user fees, we are seeing this important regulatory agency turned into a company service provider.

Shortly after user fees were started in the early '90s, a survey found almost one in five FDA scientists felt pressured to approve drugs, despite safety concerns.

See also: It's Time for Trump to Make Good on his Drug Pricing Promises

The new FDA commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, doesn't seem too concerned. Instead of focusing on drug safety, Gottlieb has opted to spotlight the importance of protecting company profits by speeding up drug approvals.

In public comments, he has argued plumping up company profits will lower drug costs as companies pass these saving on to you and me.

Ignoring drug safety can have serious consequences. Researchers in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported a third of all drugs were found to have safety problems after FDA approval.

See also: Gottlieb Likely to Take On Off-Label, Predictability at the FDA

A series of other studies have found many expensive cancer drugs offer little benefit to patients. Meanwhile, the FDA is on schedule to approve more than twice as many drugs as last year.

Nobody likes paying taxes, but there are benefits to funding our government agencies to ensure they put public interest first.

If the American public wants to have a government that works for them, its time for taxpayers to cough up the needed cash to keep our federal agencies funded. If not, we cede our rights to complain when government employees focus first on those who pay their salaries.

Paul Thacker is a journalist and adviser to nonprofits.

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