06/20/2011 - U.S. food and drug regulators would share more information with their foreign counterparts as part of a multifaceted strategy to police the safety of millions of imported goods.
A Food and Drug Administration report issued Monday lays out a long-term plan to deal with the flood of imports to the U.S., which have quadrupled over the past decade.
The FDA already shares information on drug inspections with regulators in Europe and Australia. But FDA commissioner Dr. Margaret Hamburg said a more comprehensive, global coalition would be needed to stop unsafe imports from entering the U.S.
“The FDA must further collaborate and leverage in order to close the gap between our import levels and regulatory resources,” Hamburg said in a statement. The FDA hopes to have the coalition in place by this time next year, though officials said they have not yet reached out to their counterparts overseas.
Pew Health Group’s director of medical programs, Allan Coukell, said the agency is signaling a new willingness to collaborate with its peers around the world.
“They are saying ‘the world has changed and we will have to change how we exercise our oversight responsibilities,’” Coukell said. “They are not pretending the status quo will do and they are not pretending this will go away.”
Read the full Associated Press article FDA Plan Aims to Increase Import Safety on the Washington Post's Web site.