Visa Delays Affecting FDA Inspections in China
According to a news source, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
personnel have experienced significant delays in obtaining visas from China
to staff food and drug inspection offices in that country. One staff member
reportedly withdrew his application after waiting nine months for approval
to work in China. The delays are seen as a setback for the agency’s efforts to
improve supply chain safety; FDA planned to use $10 million in additional
appropriations to increase its food inspection staff from two to nine and its
drug inspection unit from just one to 11. FDA currently has three offices in the
country—in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou—staffed with eight U.S. civil
servants and five Chinese nationals. An FDA spokesperson said, “We believe
that timely issuance of visas for FDA staff will be beneficial to both the U.S.
and China, and that it’s in China’s best interest to issue these visas and move
on to our next stage of collaboration.” See Pharmalot, August 20, 2013.