In DepthScience Policy

FDA enforcement actions plummet under Trump

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Science  05 Jul 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6448, pp. 12-13
DOI: 10.1126/science.365.6448.12

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From monitoring clinical trials and approving new medicines and vaccines, to ensuring the safety of blood transfusions, medical devices, groceries, and more, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is one of the nation's most vital watchdogs. By several key measures, however, FDA's compliance and enforcement actions have plummeted since President Donald Trump took office, a Science investigation has found. The Silver Spring, Maryland–based agency's "warning letters"—a primary tool for keeping dangerous or ineffective drugs and devices and tainted foods off the market—have fallen by one-third, for example. FDA watchers say they can't pinpoint what's driving the decline, but they are alarmed.

  • * This story has been supported by the Science Fund for Investigative Reporting.

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