Evaluating Oversight of Human Drugs and Medical Devices: A Case Study of the FDA and Implications for Nanobiotechnology

Journal of Law, Medicine and Ethics 37 (4):598-624 (2009)
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Abstract

This article evaluates the oversight of drugs and medical devices by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration using an integration of public policy, law, and bioethics approaches and employing multiple assessment criteria, including economic, social, safety, and technological. Criteria assessment and expert elicitation are combined with existing literature, case law, and regulations in an integrative historical case studies approach. We then use our findings as a tool to explore possibilities for effective oversight and regulatory mechanisms for nanobiotechnology. Section I describes oversight mechanisms for human drugs and medical devices and presents current nanotechnology products. Section II describes the results of expert elicitation research. Section III highlights key criteria and relates them to the literature and larger debate. We conclude with broad lessons for the oversight of nanobiotechnology informed by Sections I-III in order to provide useful analysis from multiple disciplines and perspectives to guide discussions regarding appropriate FDA oversight

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