Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938

Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938

The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938 greatly increased both the FDA’s regulatory power and the scope of its attentions.  The law expanded the agency’s focus beyond fraud to encompass safety as well. Most importantly, the 1938 act was the first law to require the testing of drugs before they were sent to market. It also banned drugs that didn’t list all their active ingredients. The Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act expanded the FDA’s authority to cover all medical devices and all cosmetics (with the exception of soap), and provided stronger regulation over deceptive packaging for food containers. 

Commentary

US Capitol building

Darrel Issa’s Government Handover

January 05, 2011

Cry Wolf Quotes

While both we and our clients are in entire sympathy with the aims and purposes of the Tugwell Bill, we are all of one mind in our fears about such a sweeping grant of autocratic power being placed in the hands of any bureau or department of government.

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An advertising executive that represented the proprietary industry.

No manufacturer can possibly continue in business except by the grace of the officials in Washington.

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An unnamed pharmaceutical industry lawyer’s prediction.

If this bill should become law, we will be forced to cancel immediately every line of advertising.

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One patent-medicine maker (unnamed) had written to multiple newspapers with the warning.

[The bill] will seriously affect employment and morale in the industries indicated. It will put thousands of men and women out of work. It will close dozens of manufacturing plants and hundreds of stores...It will hurt thousands...It will help none...When the ‘Tugwell’ Bill is introduced in Congress, it must be defeated.

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The New York Board of Trade’s Drug, Chemical and Allied Trades Section’s warning.