Hamburg offers balanced sound bites from China trip

The FDA has never depended more on China for the policing of drugs destined for the U.S. And that's about $1.5 billion worth of imports. Simultaneously, the U.S. is enjoying unprecedented access to China's pharma supply chain. So says FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg following a week-long visit in China, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Hamburg provided some politically expedient sound bites during her tour, but few specifics. She says she's "feeling very encouraged by the partnership we've developed," and that Chinese officials are pursuing a "common agenda" to improve drug and food manufacturing and regulation. 

The report says also that Hamburg "dodged a question" about what she will report to Congress. Lawmakers have been aggressive in questioning her about Chinese imports, in particular the contaminated heparin of several years ago but also the growing quantities of API imports.

"China is a major producer of active pharmaceutical ingredients and we have had some very focused discussions on that very important component of the supply chain," she says in the report.

- here's the report