The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a regulatory agency charged with enforcing laws pertaining to food, drugs, drink, cosmetics, and medical and therapeutic devices sold in the United States. Now within the Department of Health and Human Services, the FDA is responsible for ensuring the safety and efficacy of drugs in the health care system. Throughout its 100 years of existence, the agency has monitored, and responded to, crises that could have been avoided had the agency been given more funding or broader powers. Following almost every instance of catastrophe, usually with attendant deaths, more accountability has been given to the agency.

In its earliest years, the agency now known as the FDA was concerned with drug regulation. Various measures have been taken to keep ...

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