What is the FDA? Part I

The FDA stands for Food and Drug Administration.  This is a government agency that is responsible for the welfare of the general public through governing of several broad areas. This agency is part of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

They have been given the responsibility to protect the safety of the public through a process of regulating the manufacturing, transporting, production, research, labeling, and pricing of the countries’ goods and products.

The primary building for the FDA is found in White Oak, Maryland.  In addition, there are over 200 field offices throughout the 50 states.  There are a half dozen offices in foreign countries of China, England, Belgium, as well as a few others.

They supervise several areas for regulation including:

1.)     Prescription medications
2.)     Over-the-Counter pharmaceutical drugs
3.)     Vaccines
4.)     Medical Devices
5.)     Tobacco Products
6.)     Dietary supplements
7.)     Food Safety
8.)     Cosmetics
9.)     Veterinary Products
10.)   and a few others

In addition to these departments, the FDA is in charge of enforcing certain laws of the Public Health Service Act.  This could be sanitation along interstate travel or control of pet diseases and include sperm donation. It is surprising the overall vast area where the FDA has oversight.

More recently the FDA has been associated with counterterrorism.  The belief is that security of the food supply and medical products could help prevent the potential dangers to our public health.

Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg is the current Commissioner of the FDA.  She was appointed by President Obama a month after he was sworn in, in February of 2009. He was given advice and a final consent by the Senate. Dr. Hamburg reports to the Secretary of Health and Human Services.

The FDA has power of over $1 trillion dollars in the forms of monetary control, consumer goods, and expenditures.  This is broken up from food sales – over $450 billion,  Medications – $275 billion, Cosmetics – $50+ billion, Vitamins $20 billion, and more.

As of 2008, the budget for the FDA totaled $2.1 billion.  But often, as was the case for 2008, Congress can appropriate funds to the FDA, and $150 million was granted.

More information about FDA can be found at http://www.fda.gov


This is Part 1 of a 2 part series.  Check back tomorrow for more information on the FDA.  We will be looking at the history of the FDA and its criticsm.

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