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  1. Office of Policy, Legislation, and International Affairs

Office of Economics and Analysis

The Economics Staff conducts economic analyses of FDA’s policies; our work includes prospective and retrospective benefit-cost analyses of regulations covering all of the products regulated by the agency. FDA management uses our benefit-cost and other economic analyses to assess, design, and evaluate public health programs and policies.  Part of our mission involves research to increase our understanding of how the products FDA regulates affect the public’s health. To that end, we collect and analyze data on FDA-regulated products and industries and carry out special research projects on significant topics affecting public health.  In all of these activities, we serve as objective, unbiased economic analysts who assess the economic implications of potential agency actions and events. In this role, we advise and assist the Commissioner and other key officials on a day-to-day basis on the economic implications of current and proposed agency activities.

The Economics Staff maintains expertise in applied welfare economics, data modeling and simulations, and statistical analyses.  We ensure that any economic data used by the agency are of the highest quality available and that the methods used to analyze the data are appropriate. We also present the economics of FDA activities to various interested parties outside the agency, including the Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Management and Budget, Congress, and selected non-governmental organizations. We supply economic material for use by agency officials in preparing testimony before congressional committees and in developing replies to public inquiries directed to the agency.

As a behavioral science, applied economics is particularly relevant to policies likely to influence the behavior of consumers, industry, or healthcare professionals. We therefore carry out background research on many issues vital to the mission of the agency. Some topics we have recently studied as part of regulatory efforts or as special research projects include:

  • The structure of the U.S. farming and food manufacturing industries;

  • The formulation of food products for the removal of specific ingredients such as Partially-Hydrogenated Oils;

  • The use of the nutrition facts label or calorie labeling on menu boards by consumers and their effects on dietary intake and health outcomes;

  • The structure and functioning of the pet food supply industry;

  • FDA regulations and international effects on trade;

  • Trends in new drug approvals by type and other characteristics ;

  • Measures of drug safety and their implications for policy;

  • The effects of foodborne pathogens, chemicals, and allergens on the health of U.S. consumers;

  • Consumer behavioral responses to health information and warnings;

  • The economic effects of initiatives under the Drug Quality and Security Act.

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