FDA Science and Mission at Risk

Report of the Food & Drug Administration’s Subcommittee on Science and Technology

PREPARED FOR FDA Science Board, November 2007   
FDA Mission Statement
“The FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuring the safety, efficacy, and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, and products that emit radiation. The FDA is also responsible for advancing the public health by helping to speed innovations that make medicines and foods more effective, safer, and more affordable; and helping the public get the accurate, science-based information they need to use medicines and foods to improve their health.”

A strong Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is crucial for the health of our country. The benefits of a robust, progressive Agency are
enormous; the risks of a debilitated, under-performing organization are incalculable.

The FDA constitutes a critical component of our nation’s healthcare delivery and public health system. The FDA, as much as any public or private sector institution in this country, touches the lives, health and wellbeing of all Americans and is integral to the nation’s economy and its security.

The FDA’s responsibilities for protecting the health of Americans are far-reaching. The FDA protects our nation’s food supply through
regulatory activities designed to cover 80 percent of the food consumed in this country. The FDA also regulates all drugs, human
vaccines, and medical devices, and hence plays a critical role in ensuring the appropriate safety and efficacy of rapidly emerging
medical products. Indeed, countries around the world have historically looked to the FDA for guidance on sound, science-based regulation, and have looked to its product approval decisions as accurate determinations of new product safety.

The FDA is also central to the economic health of the nation, regulating approximately $1 trillion in consumer products or 25 cents of every consumer dollar expended in this country annually. The industries that FDA regulates are among the most successful and innovative in our society, and are among the few that contribute to a positive balance of trade with other countries.

The importance of the FDA in the nation’s security is similarly profound. The FDA plays a central role in protecting the nation from
the potential effects of terrorist attacks, such as anthrax, smallpox, attacks on the food supply, nerve agent attacks and radioactive
contamination, as well as from naturally occurring threats, such as SARS, West Nile virus and avian influenza.

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