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San Diego Researchers And Contractors Feel Shutdown Pinch

The federal government shutdown is being felt in the San Diego life sciences industry. Companies under that umbrella employ about 42,000 local workers, and product development is being held up.

San Diego Researchers And Contractors Feel Shutdown Pinch
Federal standoff touches San Diego life sciences industry and military contractors.

Joe Panetta is the president and CEO of BIOCOM, an advocacy group for the region's biotech companies. Panetta said the government shutdown of the Food and Drug Administration is having tangible affects on local companies struggling to win approval for drugs and devices. Approval requests are not being processed and on-site visits from the FDA are not happening because of the shutdown.

"Our ability to have meetings with reviewers at the FDA impact the continuing development of the drugs and the devices that our companies are in the process of developing. So essentially that's all come to a halt," Panetta said.


The shutdown could cost local firms millions of dollars if products developed in San Diego are kept from the market.

The federal government shutdown affects San Diego more than most other regions because one in ten workers is drawing a federal paycheck.

San Diego's federal payroll ranks number seven in the country when it comes to the percentage of the local workforce. A Brookings analysis of figures found nearly 11 percent of the region's 1.3 million workers are on the federal payroll. Active duty military are a large portion of that and they aren't being furloughed, but there is an impact on the region's military industrial complex.

Point Loma Nazarene University economist Lynn Reaser said federal civilian workers are being idled and military contractors are feeling the pinch.

"Right now contracts are being awarded, but since there's no funding, they can't go forward," Reaser said. "The biggest negative impact on San Diego is just this huge wave of uncertainty. Affecting consumers. Affecting businesses. And the ripple effects are significant."


Reaser just completed a study of the economic impact of the region's military industrial complex. She said a long shutdown could have a major impact on the local economy.