How about public health. Does our government care about that?http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/21/health/policy/21food.htmlF.D.A. Confronts Challenge of Monitoring Imports
WASHINGTON — In her first two years as Food and Drug Administration commissioner, Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg has repeatedly expressed alarm about waves of imported food and drugs overwhelming her organization’s ability to monitor them. But she had not provided a strategy to deal comprehensively with this problem — until now.
On Monday, the F.D.A. released a rare special report titled “Pathway to Global Product Safety and Quality” that is likely to win praise not so much for the four “building blocks” it outlines for dealing with imports but for the frank way it acknowledges the problem.
“This report in large part is meant to frame the issue so that all of our colleagues inside the F.D.A. and external to the F.D.A. really understand how much the world has changed, and the necessity of how much we do business in the F.D.A. has to be dramatically transformed,” Dr. Hamburg said in an interview. “This is something that I’ve been stressing as a priority from Day 1.”
A decade ago, the F.D.A. was responsible for policing six million shipments annually coming through 300 ports. This year, the number of shipments is expected to grow to 24 million, the report noted. Nearly two-thirds of all fruits and vegetables and three-quarters of all seafood consumed in the United States now come from outside the country.
The situation with drugs and medical devices is even more daunting. More than 80 percent of the active ingredients for drugs sold in the United States are made abroad — mostly in plants in China and India that are rarely inspected by the F.D.A. Half of all medical devices sold in the United States are made abroad. Many kinds of antibiotics, steroids, cancer medicines and even aspirin are no longer produced in the United States, or in many cases anywhere in the Western world.
And the Rs cut funding rather than increasing it. Isn't it just like them?