THE FOOD AND Drug Administration (FDA) is a government agency housed within the Department of Health, Education and Welfare. It is charged with the enormous task of monitoring the safety, quality, and efficacy of the food, drugs, medical devices and biological products, and cosmetics that enter the consumer market.

The agency's work is further complicated by the need to keep apace of scientific and technological advances while balancing competing pressures emanating from an ever shifting coalition of politicians, business interests, and consumers. While history suggests that consumers suffer disproportionately if the agency fails, the high degree of public confidence in the safety of our food and drugs attests to the agency's success. Unfortunately, the FDA's current reputation is captive to past tragedies central to the expansion ...

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