US wants to open FDA office in India

11 Jan 2008


Mumbai: The US is holding discussions with the government to open an office of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in India to ensure that quality of products exported from this country to the US meet safety standards.

Visiting US secretary for health and human services, Michael O Leavitt, has expressed willingness to provide technical assistance to India for establishing an FDA like the one in America that is responsible for safety regulations for food and medicine.

He said he had discussed the issue of having FDA representation in India during his meetings with union ministers.

"I had a discussion with the health minister about the desire they have to create a Food and Drug Administration in India. We want to be supportive of those efforts and we are willing to provide technical assistance as their plan proceeds," Leavitt said.

Leavitt, who is in India to find ways of enhancing the quality and safety of Indian food, drugs and medical products exported to the US, also met commerce minister Kamal Nath and agriculture minister Sharad Pawar.

He said while the US has confidence in Indian products the existing food safety system may not be adequate for the future, considering the large amount of imports.

The US wants products meant for the American market to meet its standards of quality and safety, he said.

The US last month concluded an agreement with China that requires products to be certified by Chinese authorities to meet American standards.

Leavitt said the US is committed to help India fight polio, malaria and HIV.

"We see a partnership with Indian government. Our Food and Drug Administration has recently begun to approve HIV drugs that are generic. Out of 57 we have approved, 52 have come from India," he added.

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