The FDA announced on July 14 that it has released a new strategic plan for the fiscal years extending from 2016 through 2025, and that improving the health and welfare of animals is one of the agency's top priorities.
The strategic plan consists of four goals: food safety, nutrition, animal health and organizational excellence. In the area of animal health, the plan suggests several strategies for improving access to safe and effective animal drugs, reducing risks inherent in the production and distribution of those products, and strengthening post-market surveillance.
The FDA’s plan provides specific actions it intends to take, such as enhancing post-marketing efforts to better detect adverse events in animals that are prescribed already approved drugs. The agency is also vowing to foster the development of tools to assess the safety of drugs that have not been approved by the FDA, most notably veterinary products that are “compounded,” or made by independent pharmacies.
The strategic plan also includes supporting research into emerging animal diseases and the spread of antimicrobial resistance.
Much of the plan touches on issues that the FDA has come under fire for in recent years. For example, rising reports of quality issues at compounding pharmacies have sparked increased surveillance and rule changes. And the FDA has been working with the USDA and other agencies to institute new rules designed to monitor antibiotics use in food production and to ban use of the drugs for non-medical purposes, like growth promotion.
The FDA said in a blog item accompanying the release of the strategic plan that it would maintain an open docket, meaning anyone can comment on the plan at any time. The agency says it will update the plan at least every two years to incorporate elements from public feedback.
“It’s important that our plan stays current,” said FDA Commissioner for Food and Veterinary Medicine Stephen Ostroff and two colleagues in the blog. “It will be updated to reflect emerging science, technology, innovation and trends in globalization. It will keep pace with emerging hazards and risks in the products we regulate.”
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