Food and Drug Administration
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA or USFDA) is a federal agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, one of the United States federal executive departments. It is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the regulation and supervision of food safety, tobacco products, dietary supplements, prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceutical drugs (medications), vaccines,biopharmaceuticals, blood transfusions, medical devices, electromagnetic radiation emitting devices (ERED), cosmetics, animal foods & feed and veterinary products.
The FDA was empowered by the United States Congress to enforce the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, which serves as the primary focus for the Agency; the FDA also enforces other laws, notably Section 361 of the Public Health Service Act and associated regulations, many of which are not directly related to food or drugs. These include regulating lasers, cellular phones, condoms and control of disease on products ranging from certain household pets to sperm donation for assisted reproduction.
The FDA also places medical devices into one of three categories, according to the stringency of regulation and risk associated with the device. Class I is comprised of low-risk devices, such as wheelchairs, toothbrushes and tongue depressors. The FDA’s regulatory process is not applied to 95% of Class I products. Class II devices are defined as moderate- to high-risk items, and include X-ray machines, anesthesia kits, infusion pumps and powered wheelchairs.
The FDA is led by the Commissioner of Food and Drugs, appointed by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Commissioner reports to the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Dr. Robert M. Califf, MD is the current commissioner, who took over in February 2016 for Dr. Stephen Ostroff, who had been acting since April 2015.
The FDA has its headquarters in unincorporated White Oak, Maryland.The agency also has 223 field offices and 13 laboratories located throughout the 50 states, the United States Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. In 2008, the FDA began to post employees to foreign countries, including China, India, Costa Rica, Chile, Belgium, and the United Kingdom