About FDA

FDA’s Evolving Regulatory Powers

The FDA's authority to regulate products has changed significantly overtime.  The agency has inherited new product areas and lost others.   New laws and court rulings have reshaped the FDA's powers over these product areas.  Transformations in the marketplace have created new regulatory challenges.  Advancements in science have provided new tools to protect the public health.  At times, public health crises have compelled urgent changes, and at other times, reform has taken places slowly through a length and controlled administrative process.  Through it all, FDA's steadfast commitment to protect the public health has remained at the core of all regulatory action.

These pages offer a deeper look into the transformation of FDA's regulatory authority in the past two centuries, and the forces that have compelled these changes.

Page Last Updated: 02/01/2018
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