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David Nather Jan 26, 2017
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Why FDA fans are worried about the hiring freeze

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A new issue has emerged with President Trump's 90-day hiring freeze: It's going to cause problems at the Food and Drug Administration, where they were supposed to start staffing up under the 21st Century Cures Act. A note from Credit Suisse concludes:

How the hiring authority and hiring freeze will play out together at the FDA is unclear. But it appears the agency won't be moving forward in the next few months with part of the law that allows it to be more competitive with the private sector in recruiting top scientists.

And in a statement Thursday, the Generic Pharmaceutical Association, or GPhA, said the FDA will need to fill a lot of positions to speed the review of new generic drugs: "A fully-resourced FDA is critical to reducing the backlog and making sure that patients have timely access to medicines."

Why it matters: Clearing the backlog of unapproved generic drugs is a key to most Republicans' proposals for dealing with rising drug prices — so you can expect to hear more about FDA staffing levels if the agency can't handle the load.