Product Liability

FDA services scaled back, employees furloughed due to government shutdown

fda logo FDA services scaled back, employees furloughed due to government shutdownThe government shutdown that began midnight Tuesday will result in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) temporarily stopping routine facility and food safety inspections. However, the agency will continue to conduct activities vital to public health, including emergencies, high-risk recalls, civil and criminal investigations and import entry reviews.

The FDA is a federal agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency is charged with protecting the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, quality and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products, medical devices, most of our nation’s food supply, all cosmetics, dietary supplements, and products that give off radiation.

But since it is a government agency, it will be affected by the Congressional stalemate. Services that will be halted include the majority of the agency’s laboratory research and food safety, nutrition and cosmetics work. Much of the FDA’s compliance and enforcement tasks will stop, and lower-priority import screenings and notification programs, such as infant formula and food contact substances, will be put on the back burner.

The agency says it also will have to furlough 45 percent of its workforce during the shutdown. Health and Human Services will furlough about 52 percent of its employees.

Funding for health care fraud task forces will dry up and certain initial reviews of Medicare providers will be cut back, which Health and Human Services says will put “beneficiaries at risk of quality of care deficiencies.”

Source: Law 360