Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Column Argues that Jurisdiction over Tobacco Products is the Last Thing in the World that the FDA Needs Right Now

An op-ed piece in the Portsmouth Herald argues that the Food and Drug Administration is so plagued with problems just trying to protect the public from risks in the food and drug supply that this is absolutely not the time to be giving it the tremendous responsibility and enormous task of regulating tobacco products.

The column, written by 60 Plus Association president Jim Martin, states: "For Americans who are 60-plus and for Americans of every age, an over-extended FDA is a prescription for disaster. That’s why I’m alarmed about reports out of China indicating a growing number of tainted products coming into this country. Already, despite a clear mandate and a healthy $2 billion budget, the FDA has proven itself unable to avoid or correct in a timely fashion nationwide outbreaks of deadly E. coli contamination of lettuce, spinach, green onions and other farm products; salmonella contamination of peanut butter; chemical poisoning of pet food, farmed fish, hogs and chickens; and deaths due to dangerous drugs previously approved by this very same agency. In recent weeks, we have learned that the FDA actually inspects less than 1 percent of all imported food."

"The FDA is overwhelmed. Its mandate calls for it to ensure the safety of the nation’s entire food supply, including home-grown and imported. It’s responsible for 11,000 drugs in the marketplace. It’s supposed to examine the safety and efficacy of proposed new drugs, including the burgeoning class of bioengineered pharmaceuticals, and monitor the safety of drugs after they are placed on pharmacy shelves. Additionally, the agency has been charged by the president to play a key role in the administration’s national bioterrorism defense initiatives.
The FDA is buckling under the strain." ...

"With the FDA in such obvious crisis, it is irresponsible, and appalling, for some members of Congress to be promoting legislation that would further burden the agency with regulatory responsibility for the massive tobacco industry."

The Rest of the Story

This excellent column speaks for itself. Just another reason the proposed FDA tobacco legislation is a seriously flawed proposal.

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