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Venture Capitalists Lobbying Congress Heavily to Reign in FDA

Venture capitalists are spending significantly on efforts to lobby the US Congress to ease FDA regulatory requirements for medical device manufacturers, to considerable effect.

According to a New York Times report, venture capital funds allocating to medical device and technology manufacturers have provided more than $3.3 million in political donations to lawmakers and political action committees over the past five years; 20% of those donations were made to politicians and groups explicitly advocating less regulatory authority for the FDA in terms of medical device reviews.One lobbying group, the National Venture Capital Association, spent $350,000 last year on medical device and health care efforts, and expects that figure to increase to $450,000 for 2011.

Now that the FDA’s Medical Device User Fee law is up for renewal in Congress, medical device industry and venture capital lobbying efforts appear to be paying off. No less than bipartisan Senate bill, all aiming to speed up the FDA’s medical device review process. Industry efforts to repeal a looming sales tax on medical device manufacturers mandated by the Affordable Care Act have also gained support among lawmakers from states such as Massachusetts and Minnesota with sizeable medical device sectors.

Although the merits of their arguments have been questioned by various medical experts, industry and VC advocates have so far effectively steered the conversation in Congress.

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