The first comprehensive federal consumer protection law was the 1906 Food and Drugs Act, which prohibited misbranded and adulterated food and drugs in interstate commerce. Arguably the pinnacle of Progressive Era legislation, the act nevertheless had shortcomings—gaps in commodities it covered plus many products it left untouched—and many hazardous consumer items remained on the market legally.
The political will to effect a change came in the early 1930s, spurred on by growing national outrage over some egregious examples of consumer products that poisoned, maimed, and killed many people.
The tipping point came in 1937, when an untested pharmaceutical killed scores of patients, including many children, as soon as it went on the market. The enactment of the 1938 Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act tightened controls over drugs and food, included new consumer protection against unlawful cosmetics and medical devices, and enhanced the government’s ability to enforce the law. This law, as amended, is still in force today.
- What is FDA Basics for Industry?
- How did the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act come about?
- How do I find the latest information on the Web site? How do I sign up for e-mails and alerts?
- What is a docket? How do I submit comments to a docket? How do I find comments submitted to a docket?
- Can I buy medical products online? How do I know they're safe?
- FDA's MedWatch Program: Voluntarily Reporting Problems to the FDA
- What non-government websites does FDA recommend?
- What other government-supported websites does FDA recommend as reliable sources for health-related information?
- Where should I go to find consumer information on www.FDA.gov?
- FDA Basics Webinar: FDA Office of Minority Health - Steps to Address Health Disparities
- How do I report a problem with an FDA-regulated product?
- Can I tell if FDA has approved a product by looking at the label?
- FDA MedWatch Webinar
- FDA Webinar on Foreign Inspections
- How is a potential advisory committee member screened for conflicts of interests?
- What is a financial conflict of interest waiver?
- What is a conflict of interest?
- How does an individual become a member of an FDA advisory committee?
- What are the qualifications of a scientific member of an advisory committee?
- What is an FDA Advisory Committee?
- When and why was FDA formed?
- How many people are employed by FDA and in what areas do they work?
- Materials from Webinar on Inspection Process
- Why are animals used for testing medical products?
- How can I share my ideas and suggestions with FDA?