The federal Food and Drug Administration's spotty record inspecting foreign drug manufacturers will be even worse next year as its budget drops just as developing countries are flooding the market with new medications, reports the Washington Post. Foreign drug plants are inspected only once every eight to 12 years because of budget restrictions, as opposed to every two years required for American makers.
FDA investigators also must warn owners of overseas plants that they're coming, but can drop in on American companies unannounced. Many foreign drugs are made in China and India, where oversight is already weak, putting American consumers "at considerable risk," said the chairman of a congressional panel holding hearings on the issue today. The FDA's commissioner is scheduled to testify.