The Food and Drug Administration, which is funded alongside the Department of Agriculture, not HHS, has paused routine food and drug safety inspections, as well as many ongoing research activities. Speaking via teleconference, FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb told attendees at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference that the agency only has about a month of funding left for the drug approval process. Currently 50% of FDA staff are furloughed. “The longer (the furloughs) continue the greater chance of significant risk to public health,” said Dr. Michael Carome of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group.
The shutdown has cut off funding for the Justice Department, too. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit on Friday halted appeal of litigation surrounding the Affordable Care Act. DOJ asked for the delay since lawyers are prohibited from working during the shutdown and would miss crucial deadlines imposed by the court.
However, cases involving rules on short-term and association health plans and Medicaid work requirements are proceeding. —Harris Meyer contributed to this report