FDA goes to China

The FDA today opened an office in China's capital city Bejing to help monitor imports to the United States. The office is the first FDA office beyond the borders of the U.S. It's part of the agency's new global safety strategy, as companies increasingly move operations offshore with plans to import products back to the U.S. In addition, Chinese quality officials will set up a station in the U.S.

While concerns about infant formula, food and toothpaste have brought headline-grabbing attention to Chinese imports, problems with pharmaceuticals, including contaminated blood thinners, are a major concern as well.

The vice health minister and head of China's food and drug administration, Shao Mingli, said that the FDA presence in China will provide "a very clear signal to the whole world." U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said that this marks a new strategy to "build safety into products at every step of the way," rather than just monitoring it upon importation at U.S. boarders.

The two countries will work cooperatively to detect contamination. Together, they will require greater corporate responsibility and increase data and information sharing.

The FDA will soon open two more offices in the Chinese cities of Shanghai and Guangzhou, as well as offices in Europe, India and Latin America. The new China offices will oversee regulation, policy, food, medicines and medical devices.

- read the Associated Press story
- find what the LA Times said
- see the Forbes version

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