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Industry watch.

Pharmaceuticals: The FDA is warning that the approval time for new drugs could face increasing delays if government funding for the agency does not increase. The agency's drug approval budget stands at $321 million, half of which is generated by drug application fees that it charges pharmaceutical companies. The pharmaceutical industry has already complained about the recent slowing of the approval process, accusing the agency of pressure from advocacy groups. The FDA has noted a rush by drug companies to get drugs into the approval process.

Source: Financial Times

R&D: According to the National Science Foundation, the US government spent $83.1 billion on R&D for fiscal year 2001, for a 2.2% increase over spending for 2000. Basic research funding rose 6.8% to $20.3 billion and applied research funding increased 6.2% to total $18.4 billion. Life science funding rose 4.7% to $18.2 billion, funding for the physical sciences rose 5.9% to $4.4 billion, and funding for the environmental sciences increased 4.5% to $3.2 billion. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding increased just 5.0% to $18.1 billion, while National Science Foundation (NSF) funding grew 19.8% to $3.4 billion. Agricultural funding was essentially flat with 0.7% growth to $1.9 billion, and EPA funding was up 3.9% to $672 million. For basic research, NSF funding increased 19.9% to $3.0 billion and NIH funding grew 5.7% to $10.4 billion. As for applied research, NIH funding was up 5.1% to $5.1 billion, agricultural funding fell 0.7% to $810 million, and EPA funding fell 1.3% to $382 million.

Source: Chemical & Engineering News

Environmental: The EPA's annual evaluation of national air quality examines the status and trends for six principle pollutants. Between 1991 and 2000, nitrogen dioxide concentrations decreased 11%, concentrations of sulfur dioxide declined 37%, concentrations of coarse particulate matter (less than or equal to 10 micrometers in diameter) decreased 19%, carbon monoxide concentrations decreased 41%, lead concentrations fell 50%, and ozone concentrations decreased 10% for one hour and 7% for eight hours. As a percentage of emissions between 1991 and 2000, nitrogen dioxide increased 3%, volatile organic compounds fell 16%, sulfur dioxide dropped 24%, coarse particulate matter fell 6%, fine particulate matter (less than or equal to 2.5 micrometers in diameter) fell 5%, carbon monoxide declined 5%, and lead decreased 4%.

Source: EPA

Agribiotech: In a six-to-two decision, the US Supreme Court has upheld the right of companies to patent plants and seeds. In 1985, the US Patent and Trademark Office started to issue utility patents on seeds, reversing Congress' previous stance that farmers and seed suppliers could make use of any seeds or plants as needed. The case grew out of Pioneer Hi-Bred's 1998 suit against J.E.M. Ag Supply for selling seeds without J.E.M.'s permission. The Court's majority wrote that by not specifying the prevention of utility patents on seeds, Congress supported the broad use of patents.

Source: Wall Street Journal
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Publication:Instrument Business Outlook
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 15, 2001
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