Wednesday, December 13, 2006

U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

NPR ran a story last night on "All Things Considered" about the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's proposed plan to make experimental drugs more widely accessible to patients with serious illnesses like cancer and AIDS.

What is the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and what does it do?

The FDA is a consumer protection agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. It consists of a team of about 9,000 public health employees that includes physicians, nurses, consumer safety officers, lawyers, and scientists, with specialties ranging from biomaterials engineering to pharmacology.

The FDA dates its origin to June 1906, when President Teddy Roosevelt signed the Food and Drugs Act and entrusted implementation of this law to the Bureau of Chemistry of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Bureau, the oldest U.S. consumer protection office, eventually became the FDA, an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services.

The agency is responsible to the American public to ensure that:

  • Foods are safe, wholesome and truthfully labeled.
  • Drugs for both humans and animals, and vaccines for humans are safe and effective.
  • Blood used for transfusions is safe and in adequate supply.
  • Medical devices, from scalpels to CT scanners, are safe and effective.
  • Transplanted tissues are safe and effective.
  • Equipment that uses radiant energy, such as X-ray machines and microwave ovens, is safe.
  • Cosmetics are safe and properly labeled.

Visit the FDA's website to learn more about its structure and organization, locations, components, mission, and more. Take an online tour or watch a slide show.

Browse through Chinook, the Libraries Catalog, for titles about the FDA or published by the FDA.

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