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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

About FDA

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This Week in FDA History

Significant events in the Food and Drug Administration's first 100 years, with updates on the agency's progress in protecting public health. These milestones appeared as a weekly feature during 2006, the FDA's centennial year. 

January

February

March

  • March 11, 1999: Consumer-friendly "Drug Facts" label regulation for OTC drugs
  • March 15, 1912: Dr. Harvey Wiley, "Father of the Pure Food and Drugs Act," resigns as chief of the agency that became FDA
  • March 21, 2000: Supreme Court rules FDA does not have authority to regulate tobacco as a drug
  • March 28, 1979: Three Mile Island nuclear accident

April

  • April 4, 1977: Donald Kennedy, Ph.D., becomes Commissioner of Food and Drugs
  • April 9, 1996: The Federal Tea Tasters Repeal Act is passed
  • April 22, 1976: Vitamin-Mineral Amendment to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act is passed
  • April 26, 1976: The Anabolic Steroids Control Act is passed

May

  • May 6, 1944: Paul B. Dunbar, Ph.D., becomes Commissioner of Food and Drugs
  • May 7, 1930: McNary-Mapes Amendment to the Pure Food and Drugs Act is passed.
  • May 17, 1971: The Public Health Service's Bureau of Radiological Health is transferred to the FDA.
  • May 22, 1950: A federal judge announces prison sentences for the inventor and distributor of the "Zerret Applicator."
  • May 29, 1911: The Supreme Court rules that the 1906 Pure Food and Drugs Act does not prohibit false therapeutic claims

June

  • June 8, 1966: FDA appoints science advisors to stimulate carrer development among its field scientists
  • June 12, 2002: The Public Health Security and Bioterrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002 is signed into law
  • June 20, 1963: FDA issues regulations to implement the Kefauver-Harris drug amendments
  • June 30, 1906 and June 25, 1938: In a week of landmark anniversaries, the Food and Drug Administration celebrates the passage of the Pure Food and Drugs Act in 1906 and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act in 1938.

July

  • July 8, 1965: Revised food standard for peanut butter is issued
  • July 15, 1962: Thalidomide-caused birth defects lead to strengthened drug regulation
  • July 22, 1993: New guidelines encourage improved assessment of gender differences in drug investigations
  • July 24, 1955: New Drug Application number 10,000 becomes effective

August

  • August 2, 2004: Minor Use and Minor Species Animal Health Act is passed
  • Aug. 12, 1954: George P. Larrick becomes Commissioner of Food and Drugs
  • Aug. 17, 1955: FDA hires temporary investigators to prevent black market in polio vaccine
  • Aug. 21, 2002: Initiative to modernize the regulation of pharmaceutical manufacturing
  • Aug. 30, 1964: FDA asks for state and local assistance in removing a hazardous product, "X-33 Water Repellent," from the market

September

  • Sept. 6, 1958: Food Additives Amendments are passed
  • Sept. 15, 1997: Diet drug fen-phen is taken off the market
  • Sept. 21, 1960: Last remaining major source of the worthless Hoxsey cancer treatment has been eliminated by a federal court order.
  • Sept. 24, 1984: The Hatch-Waxman Act is passed; encourages the development of generic prescription drugs

October

  • Oct. 6, 1961: The National Congress on Medical Quackery convenes in Washington, D.C.
  • Oct. 10, 1962: The Kefauver-Harris Drug Amendments are passed
  • Oct. 21, 1979: Jere E. Goyan, Ph.D., becomes commissioner of food and drugs
  • Oct. 26, 1951: The Durham-Humphrey Amendment is passed

November

  • Nov. 3, 1966: The Child Protection Act is passed
  • Nov. 9, 1959: FDA discovers a cancer-causing chemical in cranberries three weeks before Thanksgiving
  • Nov. 16, 1937: Congress investigates the Elixir Sulfanilamide tragedy
  • Nov. 23, 1977: Congress passes the Saccharin Study and Labeling Act

December

  • Dec. 2, 1992: FDA announces new food labeling rules
  • Dec. 9, 1958: The FDA publishes a list of nearly 200 "Substances Generally Recognized as Safe" (GRAS).
  • Dec. 13, 1969: Charles Edwards, M.D., becomes FDA commissioner
  • Dec. 17, 1914: The Harrison Narcotic Act is passed, mandating narcotic and prescription drug requirements
  • Dec. 24, 2002: The FDA Office of Combination Products is formed

 

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