Reforming the FDA

Does the agency act too slowly?


The Food and Drug Administration rarely has a shortage of critics. That's not surprising considering the agency's extraordinary role in American life: 25 cents of every consumer dollar is spent on FDA-regulated products.Much of the criticism leveled at the agency in recent years centered on its activist chief, David A. Kessler, who recently resigned to head theYale University Medical School. Just before leaving, Kessler refocused the spotlight on the FDA with his bid to regulate tobacco. Whoever is chosen as Kessler's successor likely will face close scrutiny during Senate confirmation hearings. Other FDA issues before Congress include reauthorization of the Prescription Drug User-Fee Act, credited with speeding approval of proposed new drugs, and bills to streamline other FDA procedures.

An FDA inspector checks the cleanliness of ...

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