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A tale of two regulators.

A Tale of Two Regulators

Compared with the regulators of food and drugs in many countries, the United States' Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a beacon of righteousness. The government of Peru, for example, has a department of health that is meant to oversee the importation and distribution of pharmaceutical drugs. Its effectiveness is deplorable, a characteristic of most Latin American countries.

Dr. Uriel Garcia is a former government official in the Peruvian Health Ministry. He recently recounted some of the horrors that attend drug use in that country. An anti-allergy drug, Periatcin, is being prescribed as a vitamin for children. Another medication, Dipyrone, outlawed in the United States, is dispensed by physicians for many ailments without concern for its effects.

The leading newspaper in Peru recently launched a campaign to publicize such outrageous acts of malpractice. It highlighted doctors' use of steroids in young children to improve appetite and the prescribing of drugs prohibited in England and France encouraged to deal with cancer. The effect upon an otherwise indifferent public is yet to be seen.

For the most part, we can be proud of our U.S. government agency, the FDA. It has critics who deplore the slowness with which some drugs are approved. Others are impatient with its reluctance to bear down on marketers of contaminated food products, making it possible for these malefactors to divert questionable commodities into foreign markets.

On balance, however, the FDA is viable, often handling criticism with grace and accommodation. We are fortunate on both counts.
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Title Annotation:regulation of food and drugs in the United States and Peru
Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Jan 1, 1990
Previous Article:Alcohol and impotence.
Next Article:Violating nature's laws.

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