Democrats: Give FDA new global authority

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Some House Democrats this week proposed giving the FDA new powers to inspect overseas drug plants, following the deaths of dozens in 2008 from the contaminated blood-thinner heparin produced in China by Baxter International. The legislation would require the FDA to inspect foreign plants as often as domestic ones and give the agency new authority to recall medicine shown to be or suspected of being contaminated or otherwise sub-standard.

“The job sounds overwhelming to me,” says Dr. Whelan.

Dr. Ross sees the glass as either half full, or half empty: “Who can be opposed to more oversight, especially because overseas manufacturers don’t have the same oversight as companies in the U.S.? Yet, I have concerns as well, given that the politicians who want to do this are Henry Waxman, Frank Pallone, John Dingell and Bart Stupak. Their well-documented anti-business and anti-pharma agendas make me suspect some hidden motivation. So stay tuned.”

“I think the FDA’s scarce resources would be better spent examining ‘nutritional supplements’ in this country,” says ACSH’s Dr. Josh Bloom.