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FDA enters Costa Rica on global safety mission

By Nick Taylor , 08-Jan-2009

 

The FDA has established its first permanent presence in Latin America by opening an office in Costa Rica as part of “Beyond Our Borders Initiative”, which has also seen the agency set up three sites in China.

More US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) offices are scheduled to be set up in the region over the next 12 months, with Mexico and a South American country the likely sites.

These offices fit into the FDA’s “Beyond Our Borders Initiative” which the agency has launched in an attempt to more closely monitor standards in countries that have significant imports to the US.

Consequently China has been a primary focus of the initiative, with three FDA offices now set up in the country, but the agency has now turned its attention to Latin America.

Secretary Michael Leavitt, who leads the US Health and Human Services, said: “The countries of Central America, along with Panamá and the Dominican Republic, create the third-largest US export market in Latin America, and, every year, the United States imports millions of dollars in goods from these important trade partners.

An HHS/FDA presence in the region will improve collaboration, strengthen our partnership and hasten the flow of quality goods to our markets.”

The establishment of an office in Costa Rica began in June 2008 when Leavitt met with Health Ministers from the region at a summit in the Central American country El Salvador.

Similar meetings may be taking place in the Middle East, which the FDA has identified as the next location it wants to establish itself in.

This follows on from a busy period for the agency, in which it has opened an office in Brussels to collaborate with the European Commission, set up at three sites in China and announced it will establishing a presence in two India cities.

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