Is China Blocking FDA Inspectors?

Despite a mid-December 2013 agreement with the Chinese government personally brokered in Beijing by U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden, additional FDA inspectors are stuck in the United States, awaiting visas.
It’s possible that Chinese officials are keenly aware that China remains a major hub for drug counterfeiting and are reluctant to open up their factories to scrutiny. Photographer: ImagineChina/AP Photo

In late 2012 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration asked the Chinese government about the possibility of stationing 20 inspectors in China to supplement the nine staff it already had there at the time. The request wasn't unreasonable. "The crucial ingredients for nearly all antibiotics, steroids and many other lifesaving drugs are now made exclusively in China," noted the New York Times on Feb. 14. Yet, despite the ever-increasing volumes of exported drugs and food from China to the United States, and a mid-December 2013 agreement with the Chinese government personally brokered in Beijing by U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden, most of those added inspectors are still in the United States, awaiting visas.

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