Regulatory Focus™ > News Articles > FDA Announces Termination of One of its Advisory Committees

FDA Announces Termination of One of its Advisory Committees

Posted 21 November 2013 | By Alexander Gaffney, RAC

The US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) roster of advisory committees from which it solicits advice on regulatory matters has become one member smaller, it announced on Thursday.

In a Federal Register announcement posted on 21 November 2013, the agency said it had terminated its Veterinary Medicine Advisory Committee (VMAC) almost two months ago on 24 September.

The committee, whose purpose was to "review and evaluate available data concerning safety and effectiveness of marketed and investigational new animal drugs, feeds, and devices for use in the treatment and prevention of animal diseases and increased animal production," was by determined by FDA to be "no longer needed."

VMAC was the only one of FDA's committees to focus on veterinary topics, and its absence leaves a conspicuous gap in the coverage of FDA's advisory committees. All other product areas regulated by FDA-biologics, drugs, foods, medical devices, and tobacco-have representative advisory committees, as do a number of other areas like pediatrics and toxicological research.

But FDA's conclusion that the committee wasn't needed may well have been rooted in a combination in a lack of topics to discuss and a lack of interest in the committee itself. Records indicate the committee had not met since September 2010, when it had discussed genetically engineered animals.

Prior to its termination, the committee had no chairperson and seven other vacant positions-a two-to-one ratio of vacant-to-filled positions.

FDA said it had moved to immediately terminate the committee out of "good cause" and a sense that a public comment period would be "unnecessary."

Advisory committees are used by FDA most often in cases where it wishes to solicit outside, expert opinion on a topic. While the committee's recommendations are not binding on the agency, it follows committee opinion in the majority of cases.

Federal Register Notice

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