US FDA to close Middle East office in December

By Zachary Brennan

- Last updated on GMT

FDA to close its office in Jordan
FDA to close its office in Jordan

Related tags Fda commissioner margaret Fda

The US FDA will close its office in Amman, Jordan though the agency has been tight-lipped on the reasoning behind the decision.

Effective Dec. 25, the FDA post located inside the US embassy in Amman will close, agency spokeswoman Erica Jefferson told us. 

The FDA staff currently in Amman Jordan will be returning to the White Oak Campus​” in Silver Spring, Maryland, Jefferson said.  “This is a transfer of FDA personnel rather than a reduction​.”

But the post’s closure should not have an impact on any facility inspections in the region. Jefferson said that the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) post “was not involved in inspections of manufacturing facilities and its closure should not impact FDA’s inspectional schedules​.

The Jordanian division of the FDA opened in 2011. According to a 2012 report to Congress​, FDA employees from the office were leading training efforts in Saudi Arabia in good clinical practices for the MENA drug regulators, among other activities.

The training was meant to help countries in the region revisit and reevaluate their clinical trial regulations or provide a base foundation if they don’t have any.

Hamburg Letter

In an August letter from FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg to an Algerian Minister of Commerce, Hamburg announced the office’s closure without providing a reason.

Neither Hamburg nor Jefferson mentioned the civil war in Syria, or the pending government shutdown as possible reasons for the site’s closure. 

But Hamburg reiterated the agency’s commitment to the region and to the WHO’s Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office.

In addition, she highlighted the work of Dr. Layla Batarseh, PhD, who served as the primary representative for the FDA in the MENA Region. 

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