FDA's FOIA Fees

GGD-93-47R: Published: Jun 10, 1993. Publicly Released: Jun 10, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) retention of fees for Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) information request processing, focusing on whether FDA has shortened its processing time for FOIA requests since 1990. GAO found that: (1) although the overall time FDA needed to process FOIA requests has increased by about 19 percent since 1988, request processing times have only increased by 9 percent since 1990; (2) the number of FOIA requests and FDA staff years assigned to FOIA work increased between 1990 and 1992; (3) FDA believed it could not sufficiently determine the impact of fee retention on FOIA request processing because other factors, including request complexity, staff inexperience and turnover, and policy and procedural changes, affected the average request processing time; (4) retention fees accounted for only 10 percent of actual FOIA request processing costs; and (5) although FDA lacked adequate data to compare its response times with other agencies, it believed that its response times were reasonable.

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