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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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This Week In FDA History - May 6, 1944

Photo of a MASH unit.
  World War II military field hospital.
May 6, 1944:
Paul B. Dunbar, Ph.D., becomes Commissioner of Food and Drugs. During World War II, Dunbar willingly assumed the task of testing drugs for the military. He declined, however, to ask for additional funds for war work, considering it a patriotic contribution owed to the country.

FDA in 2006

The FDA continues to support the U.S. military and the nation's counterterrorism efforts. The agency has helped make critical medical products available for combat readiness. It has helped U.S. Special Forces obtain medical products for airborne hospitals used in evacuating battlefield casualties. It has provided consultation and review to help make investigational and licensed medical products such as vaccines
available to our forces. For example, the FDA recently approved a product for combat use by U.S. military personnel to protect them from the lethal effects of the nerve gas Soman, a high-tech battlefield wound dressing that can stop massive bleeding within minutes, and a decontamination lotion to remove or neutralize chemical warfare agents and other toxins from the skin, preventing serious burns and death.