Analytical Tools Initiative – FDA 5 Year Technology Push

The Food and Drug Administration is prioritizing IT as part of its five-year strategic plan, including accelerating a program to build innovative devices to improve field and laboratory analysis.

"Advances in regulatory science are critical to effectively translate cutting-edge developments in science and technology into promising products and therapies for the Americans who need them. Americans cannot take full advantage of the breakneck speed of biomedical research unless we also achieve innovations in regulatory science, " states the FDA.

The FDA released a draft of its strategic plan September 29,2010.  One of the more innovative strategies the FDA is undertaking is its Analytical Tools Initiative, which aims to build new technologies to provide more rapid analysis of food and drugs both in the field and during laboratory testing, reports Information Week.

The plan outlined some devices already in use at the agency. In fiscal year 2010, FDA training staff tested a handheld device, called the Counterfeit Detector, to help personnel in charge of inspecting imports to detect counterfeit drugs and packaging, according to the plan.

Another device that the FDA has been testing includes a portable X-ray Fluorescence device that can detect toxic elements in imported products, such as food and dietary supplements, according to the plan. Currently, the device can analyze imports for lead, cadmium, mercury, arsenic and selenium, with additional capabilities planned in the future.