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FDA's Uncertain Future

The US Food and Drug Administration has been a target of President-elect Donald Trump and some of his advisors, leading Stat News to speculate on whether the influence of the agency will change during his presidency.

During the campaign, Trump bemoaned the agency's food-safety regulations, calling it "the FDA Food Police" during a September speech, Stat News says. Similarly, it adds that former House Speaker and current Trump advisor Newt Gingrich has called the FDA a "job-killer" and has said it should be eliminated.

"Public health advocates are bracing for a seismic shift: a surrender of the agency's rules for off-label promotion of drugs; the importation of more drugs from other countries; and fewer requirements for clinical trials — long the gold standard for determining whether medicines are safe and effective," Stat News says.

At the same time, Mike Ferguson, a former Republican Representative now at the law firm BakerHostetler, tells Stat News that some people in industry are "breathing a sigh of relief" with Trump's election.

Still, Sidney Wolfe from the Public Citizen's Health Research Group says it would difficult to get rid of the FDA. "You can be against regulation all you want, but the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act is not something that is malleable within executive orders," he tells Stat News. "There are laws, many laws, and it took a long time to get them."