The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plans to withhold 30 percent of the funding allocated for the Office of Women’s Health in 2007, an unnamed, high level official told the Washington Post. The source, who is not authorized to speak publicly, said that $1.2 million will be withheld from the Office’s $4 million budget, and the remaining $2.8 million has already been appropriated or spent. The decision would effectively halt any further projects in 2007.
The Office of Women’s Health was created in 1994 to address the need for separate research and attention for women’s health issues. At the time, other offices within the FDA reported lacking the time, funds, or knowledge to concentrate on women’s needs. The findings of the research conducted by the Office of Women’s Health have provided valuable health information about menopause, pregnancy, birth control, and other issues relevant to women.
Congress has annually allocated $4 million to the Office of Women’s Health, which has been imperative to funding its research. Martha R. Nolan, vice president at the Society for Women’s Health Research, a Washington advocacy group, expressed her concerns about the ramifications of the budget cut, saying “We fear this is the first step toward eliminating the Office of Women’s Health. We must not allow this office to be eliminated or reduced to an empty shell that has no program funding,” the Washington Post reports.