The Food and Drug Administration announced a scale-back of domestic inspections to protect agency workers. Specifically, the FDA has temporarily postponed all domestic routine surveillance facility inspections. These are facility inspections the FDA traditionally conducts every few years based on a risk analysis.
The FDA says all domestic for-cause inspection assignments will be evaluated and will proceed if mission-critical. In keeping with federal guidance, this week, the FDA also directed all eligible FDA employees to begin teleworking. While this does not apply to those carrying out non-portable activities, such as certain lab activities or the monitoring of imported products, the agency will continue to adjust its approach to several activities, including facility inspections for all FDA-regulated products such as food, animal feed, drugs, biological products, devices and tobacco.
Earlier this month, the FDA announced the postponement of most foreign facility inspections through April and that inspections outside the U.S. deemed mission-critical will be considered on a case-by-case basis as this outbreak continues to unfold.