If you spend a lot of time on the internet, its possible that you know more about the roles and responsibilities of the FDA in America than the Thai FDA … even if you live in Thailand.
However, there are some crucial differences between the two bodies that would mean, especially if you are in business, that it could be a grave mistake to confuse the two. Today Thai business law experts explain the role of the FDA in Thailand under Thai law, as well as the implications for Thai businesses dealing in food, drugs, health products or supplements of any kind.
What is the Thai FDA?
Thailand’s Food and Drug Administration was created in 1974, but the history of concern over counterfeit and contaminated products that eventually led to its birth under Thai law can be traced back to around 1909. There are twelve main Thai law acts that give the FDA its power and provide a basis for actions against businesses, including:
– The Drug Act of 1967
– The Food Act of 1979
– Psychotropic Substances Act of 1975
– Narcotics Act of 1979
– Medical Devices Act of 1988
– Cosmetics Act of 1992
– Hazardous Substances Act of 1992
– International Convention on the marketing of breast milk substitutes or 1981
There are also several other international codes and conventions to which companies are expected to conform under Thai law.
Roles and responsibilities of the Thai FDA
The FDA’s role in Thailand is to ensure the safety, efficacy and quality of products that go on the market. Where the American FDA mainly monitors safety (and leaves efficacy to free market forces), in Thailand you not only have to have a clever marketing machine in order to make money, but Thailand corporate legal services will advise that you also need to satisfy government regulations determining safety and efficacy in order to bring a product to market.
Under Thai law, the FDA is authorized to undertake tasks like:
– Pre-marketing control: Including product quality and manufacturing plant inspections
– Post-marketing control: Follow up to ensure pre-marketing standards are being maintained
– Surveillance programs: Monitoring to ensure that consumers are not being adversely affected
– Consumer education: Teaching people to identify safe, efficacious products by themselves.
Why should businesses care about the FDA?
Thai business law experts have been very busy recently, doing damage control for clients after the FDA shut down around 150 websites that were seen to be making unsubstantiated or false claims on their websites.
The manager of the Foundation for Consumers says that Thailand is ‘facing a crisis of misleading commercials for diet supplements’, and all indications by the FDA are that the pulling of 150 websites is just the beginning of a more major campaign – one which they recognize as a massive job to rectify under Thai law. However, Thai legal services expect more crackdowns to come rather than a simple acceptance of illegal activity by businesses.