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As quality control violations rise, US FDA chief heads to India

Published on Feb 6, 2014 12:22 AM

(REUTERS) - The commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration, Dr. Margaret Hamburg, plans to visit India for the first time in an official capacity next week as the agency works to keep sub-standard food and drugs from entering the United States.

The FDA's Wednesday announcement of the visit, planned for Feb. 10-18, comes less than two weeks after the FDA banned products from a fourth facility owned by Indian drugmaker Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd due to manufacturing violations, effectively shutting the company out of the US market for the foreseeable future.

India is the second-largest exporter of drugs to the United States after Canada and the eighth-largest food exporter. Indian companies supply 40 per cent of all drugs consumed in the United States, yet quality control problems have been rampant.

Dr Hamburg said the purpose of her visit is to "connect with my counterparts in the regulatory agencies as well as have a chance to talk with industry leaders who are important stakeholders in terms of our activities."

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