The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is pushing for Congress to approve the use of more third-party inspectors as the regulatory body attempts to police a complex global supply chain.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has stated that foreign plants are inspected every 13 years as opposed to 2.7 years for facilities in the US, a situation the FDA is hoping to resolve.
However, the outsourcing plan has already drawn criticism, primarily targeted at the perceived failure of a similar scheme for inspections of device manufacturers.
The outsourcing idea was mooted last autumn, when the Bush administration proposed a plan for non-FDA inspections of prescription pharmaceuticals. This would be done on a voluntary basis for products that are not considered to pose too great a risk, with manufacturers paying for the inspections.