Sunday, January 08, 2017

Baxter Black - A journey to the FDA

I have never seen the Taj Mahal, the Vatican or Fort Knox, all monoliths wrapped in mystery, placed beyond politics, Google and the Rubix Cube. But I can now claim I have seen the FDA in the Land of Acronyms, Washington DC, and survived. In my case, it was the FDA, CVM …Food and Drug Administration Center for Veterinary Medicine.


Ten of the most influential people in the world of veterinary drugs invited me to join them at a conference table which appeared to be borrowed from a high school teacher’s lounge. Two were wearing jeans, three wore a tie and all were wearing comfortable shoes. The attire was casual.

Each one took the time to explain their position and responsibility including livestock, equine, dogs, cats, minor species, legality, finance, practicality and impact. The subject on top of their pile is the possible resistance of organisms to antibiotics passed from animal to man. To date there is no proof that it happens, but others think it might. It’s like the cause of “Global Warming.” Tough decisions.

To appreciate the scope of their job, imagine a list of all veterinary drugs in use since 1965 through today that were approved by CVM. The process of approval is detailed and time consuming. Their mission statement reads, “Protecting Human and Animal Health: to insure the drug is safe and effective for the patient and in food animals safe for people to eat.” Talk about all consuming! That is a huge promise. But they keep it and don’t back down. There are no loopholes. Rarely do we see such solid rock commitment to the people’s benefit, especially from government. It is the gold seal, the guarantee, the third party verification, it’s the law. Until CVM was instituted, medicine was CAVEAT EMPTOR, “Let the buyer beware.” And that same warning exists today on drugs for animals and humans that don’t have the CVM FDA seal of approval. Just read the label on the back.

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