Congress has approved a bill to speed up the approval process for bringing new animal medicines to market. The next step is for the bill to be presented to President Bush for his signature.

If he signs it, the Food and Drug Administration will be allowed to collect application fees — estimated at $43 million over five years — from the companies that make animal drugs and use those funds to hire additional scientific reviewers to help expedite the process. The FDA has a similar program in place for the approval of human drugs and medical devices.