January 23, 2009

FDA Unable To Protect Citizens Says Government Office

According to the Government Accountability Office, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is a "high-risk" area of the federal government because it may not be able to protect the public from harmful food and drugs.

The GAO reported on Thursday that the FDA was being hindered by complex products, globalization, and laws that have made it difficult for the agency to guarantee the safety of medical devices and pharmaceuticals.

At the start of each new Congress, the GAO releases a "high-risk" list to help lawmakers prioritize their focus.

The FDA has acknowledged that it needs reworking, and advocacy groups have shown the FDA's inability to keep dangerous products off U.S. shelves.

"We need your partnership to reshape the agency and to provide us with the resources and legislative authorities necessary to support our work," said Dr. Frank Torti, Acting FDA Commissioner, to members of Congress.

Karen Riley, FDA spokeswoman, responded to the GAO report by saying the FDA's top priority is "ensuring that the food and medical products Americans use are safe."

Investigators for the GAO suggested that the FDA needs to collect better information on facilities in other nations, and should conduct more inspections.

They also suggested that the FDA review claims more systematically in drug advertising to "ensure that drug sponsors accurately report clinical trial results."

The full report can be found on the GAO website.


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