First US FDA Office in Latin America Opens

January 15, 2009

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) opened HHS/FDA offices in Costa Rica on January 7. The HHS/FDA presence in the region will allow the countries to work closely together. The office in Costa Rica is the first in a series in Latin America, which will eventually include an HHS/FDA presence in South America and Mexico later in 2009.

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) opened HHS/FDA offices in Costa Rica on January 7. The HHS/FDA presence in the region will allow the countries to work closely together. The office in Costa Rica is the first in a series in Latin America, which will eventually include an HHS/FDA presence in South America and Mexico later in 2009.

The new Costa Rica office follows the 2008 openings of several other HHS/FDA offices overseas: an HHS/FDA office in Brussels to spearhead regulatory collaboration on food, drugs, and medical devices with the European Commission; the introduction of three HHS/FDA offices in China, in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou; and the announcement the department will open HHS/FDA offices in two cities in India. HHS/FDA is also pursuing options to open a location in the Middle East.

Part of the “Beyond Our Borders Initiative,” the opening of the HHS/FDA office in Costa Rica is the next step in fulfilling the President's Action Plan on Import Safety and the HHS/FDA Food-Protection Plan, both launched in November 2007. The goal of the “Beyond Our Borders Initiative” is to foster collaboration with regulatory authorities around the world, as well as to forge partnerships with industry on the safety of food, animal feed, drugs, and medical devices.