Government shutdown: FDA will halt all but essential activities
The government body has stated that the majority of its activities towards cosmetics, food safety and nutrition will be curtailed for the duration of the shutdown.
Only measures covered by user fee funded programs, as well as those concerning emergencies such as threats to human life, will continue to take place.
This crisis, which has been predicted to last anything from two days to several weeks, is also likely to shave a significant percentage off America’s GDP growth if it persists.
Steven Immergut, a spokesperson for the FDA, commented: “As a result of the shutdown, FDA is unable to support the majority of its food safety, nutrition, and cosmetics activities.”
Activities which have been halted include: “routine establishment inspections across the agency portfolio, some compliance and enforcement activities, monitoring of imports, notification programs (e.g., food contact substances, infant formula), and the majority of the laboratory research necessary to inform public health decision-making.”
The only processes which will continue during the shutdown are those which are deemed essential to safety: critical consumer protection to handle emergencies, “high-risk” recalls, civil and criminal investigations and import entry reviews.
Because the government could not agree on a new budget for the 2013-14 financial year, the US government was legally forced to discontinue paying non-essential staff.
Resolving the situation is dependent on both sides of the argument reaching a compromise over the Affordable Care Act, with the Republican-controlled House of Representatives attempting to defund or delay the bill in conflict with the Democrat-controlled Senate.
President Obama has been scathing towards factions of the Republican Party, saying in a speech on October 1: “They’ve shut down the government over an ideological crusade to deny affordable health insurance to millions of Americans.”
Analysts at HIS Global Insight have predicted that the shutdown will cost approximately $300m per day, according to a report by ‘The Guardian’.
Half of employees furloughed
The shutdown has resulted in 45 percent of FDA employees being furloughed, with the remainder being excepted and continuing to report for work.
The remaining employees’ salaries are largely being paid by user-funding fees. As a result, activities related to these fees such as product approvals and safety messages for drugs will continue.
According to CBC news, as many as 800,000 “none-essential” government workers in total are expected to remain at home as a result of the shutdown.