The Food and Drug Administration recently launched a new web-based resource called "FDA Basics" to provide more public information about the agency and how it makes decisions. The launch is the initial phase of FDA's new Transparency Initiative, which aims to enhance the public's knowledge of FDA operations and responsibilities.
The Web site, www.fda.gov/AboutFDA/Basics, offers questions and answers about the agency, its personnel and the products it regulates, as well as brief videos explaining agency activities. In the future, senior FDA officials will participate in online chats to answer questions on various topics.
In one of her first acts after assuming office last spring, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg announced plans to form an internal task force to develop recommendations for enhancing the transparency of the FDA's operations and decision-making process. Following a public comment period, the Task Force decided to break the initiative into three phases, beginning with the Web site launch.
In phase two, the Task Force will recommend ways to make information about FDA activities more transparent and understandable while continuing to protect confidential information, when appropriate. In the third phase, the Task Force will offer recommendations regarding FDA's transparency to regulated industries.
FDA is interested in receiving industry feedback regarding the new Web site. Visit FDA Basics to rank the usefulness of the information provided and to suggest additional questions or topics. On these feedback pages, FDA notes that any information submitted may become public or subject to release under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).