At Hearing with Commissioner Califf, Senator Murray Emphasizes Importance of Ensuring FDA Lives Up to Critical Mission, Has Resources to Keep Families Safe

***WATCH: Senator Murray speaks at hearing on FDA budget request***


Washington, D.C. – Today, at a Senate Appropriations Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies subcommittee hearing on President Biden’s FY24 budget request for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, emphasized the importance of making sure FDA has the resources it needs to keep families across the country safe. She spoke about FDA’s important role overseeing the nation’s food supply, including infant formula, and its work to ensure drugs and medical devices are safe and effective—which is currently being jeopardized by a partisan lawsuit seeking to overrule FDA’s authority and block access to medication abortion.


“Protecting our families is not just about how strong our military is, it is about how safe our food, or drugs, or medical devices are—not to mention how smooth our supply chains are to ensure families get what they need,” said Senator Murray. “There is a direct line between FDA having the resources it needs and the safety of American families. Every time families back in Washington state go to the grocery store, or gather around the dinner table, or fill a prescription, or rely on a medical device, they’re really putting their trust in FDA and their experts to uphold the gold standard of safety and effectiveness.”


During her remarks and in her questions to FDA Commissioner Dr. Robert M. Califf, Senator Murray raised the alarm about how lower court rulings to restrict patients’ access to mifepristone could hurt patients, undermine FDA’s authority, and open the door to legal challenges to other drugs if the ruling is allowed to stand. Senator Murray has been raising the alarm about the case and its potentially catastrophic fallout for months and joined Democrats in submitting an amicus brief to the Supreme Court urging it to stay the district court decision.


“Let me just say once again—especially in light of recent events—the determination about whether drugs are safe and effective needs to be left to the experts at FDA, not politicians and certainly not judges. We got a stark reminder of this in the recent weeks when, in extreme, poorly reasoned, and dangerous rulings, judges undermined FDA’s authority to review and approve drugs by declaring themselves to know better than FDA’s experts about medication abortion,” said Senator Murray.


Senator Murray also asked Commissioner Califf about what resources FDA needs to effectively regulate cosmetic products. Senator Murray led the effort last year to pass legislation that gave FDA new authority to regulate cosmetics and take unsafe products off the shelf.


“At the end of last year, as you know, I negotiated and passed the Modernization of Cosmetics Regulation Act of 2022, which Senator Collins who just left was a critical part of. It provided new authority to your agency to make sure that cosmetics are safe for the people who use them. The FDA finally, after many years, will know who is making and marketing what products and where, what ingredients are being used, and when there is an adverse event like severe rashes, or hair falling out, or worse. This is the first time, and I’m very excited that you now have the authority to regulate—I can’t tell you how many people I’ve talked to who didn’t even know they weren’t regulated before. So—very important step—you will now have the power to take products off the shelves if they’re not safe,” said Senator Murray. “Can you provide us with an update about how you are moving forward with this new authority, and importantly for this committee, what resources you will need to implement them?”