Leavitt: No FDA office in India, stronger import strategy needed

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Leavitt shakes hands with Indian official Anbumani Ramadoss, Union Health Minister, during his recent visit. Source: The Hindu  

Despite rumors that arose on a recent diplomatic visit of the Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt and Andrew C. von Eschenbach, commissioner of the FDA, the FDA has no plans to open an office in India.

The FDA said that it will extend technical assistance to the Indian government, who is setting up a similar agency.

At a press conference in India, Leavitt and von Eschenbach said the FDA wanted to be a bridge and not a barrier to bring the fruits of science and technology to people.

Leavitt said the United States was exploring the possibility of placing its representatives in various countries as part of a new strategy to build safety into every product and develop standards that were commonly shared. He said the current import protection system in the United States was not adequate. The United States receives goods worth two trillion U.S. dollars from eight manufacturers across the globe every year, which need to be more closely monitored, according to Leavitt.

Leavitt said that he was on a visit to India to initiate discussion with the government to work together and evolve common safety norms.