Rockville, Md., March 16, 2009 -- Noting the growing importance of drug and food quality on the nation's agenda, Roger L. Williams, M.D., chief executive officer of the U.S. Pharmacopeial (USP) Convention, today issued the following statement regarding the nomination of Dr. Margaret Hamburg as commissioner of food and drugs of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA):
"USP congratulates Dr. Hamburg on her nomination as FDA commissioner. She has the scientific and managerial credentials and experience that are needed at the helm of FDA at this critical point. That background will help her to guide the FDA, which faces complex challenges in protecting the safety of the drug and food supplies in the modern, global manufacturing environment."
For more than a century, FDA and USP have worked closely in a unique partnership to assure that the public has access to high-quality medicines. Under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, prescription and over-the-counter medicines sold in the United States must comply with the public standards for identity, quality, purity and strength set forth in USP's book of standards, the United States Pharmacopeia. These standards, developed by USP with volunteers from the scientific community in an open public process, are enforced by FDA. USP also sets standards for food ingredients and dietary supplements.
According to Dr. Williams, "Up-to-date standards are critical in protecting the public's health and safety--particularly important in the context of import safety and concerns about adulteration and contamination. The benefits of this FDA-USP partnership to address emerging public health threats related to drug quality were evidenced by the recent improvements to standards for the blood thinner heparin and the binding agent and sweetener glycerin--two widely used drug products involved in recent fatal episodes of adulteration."
As detailed in a recent letter to Acting FDA Commissioner Frank M. Torti, M.D., M.P.H. (available at www.usp.org), USP is committed to supporting FDA with scientific expertise and to working together to protect consumers through standards.
USP--Advancing Public Health Since 1820
The United States Pharmacopeial (USP) Convention is a private, non-profit, standards-setting organization that advances public health through public standards and related programs that help ensure the quality, safety, and benefit of medicines and foods. USP's standards are recognized and used worldwide. For more information about USP visit http://www.