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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

About FDA

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This Week In FDA History - Dec. 17, 1914

Photo of with caption. 1

Photo of with caption. 2

Photo from 1910 U.S. Department of Agriculture Farmer's Bulletin issue that featured "Habit-forming agents: their indiscriminate sale and use a menace to the public welfare." This book-box was used for secretly carrying morphine.
December 17, 1914:
The Harrison Narcotic Act is passed, mandating licensing of narcotic products and marking the first statutory requirement for prescription drugs in the United States.

FDA in 2006

In January 2006 the FDA unveiled a major revision to the format of prescription drug information, commonly called the package insert, to give health care professionals clear and concise prescribing information. In an effort to manage the risks of medication use and reduce medical errors, the newly designed package insert will provide the most up-to-date information in an easy-to-read format that draws physician and patient attention to the most important pieces of drug information before a product is prescribed. The new format will also make prescription information more accessible for use with electronic prescribing tools and other electronic information resources. The new format improves the readability of the labeling in two ways: It places the information considered most important by prescribers at the top of the label, and it reorganizes the remaining information about the drug to be more easily located.