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The FDA is returning to regular volumes of facility inspections visits following a decline in COVID-19 cases

The FDA is returning to regular volumes of facility inspection visits, according to a March 21st article in the New York Times, Becker’s Hospital Review says. After ceasing the practice due to the COVID-19 pandemic, an FDA spokesperson informed the New York Times the organization plans to return to routine checks.

Prior to COVID-19, the FDA inspected roughly 12,500 U.S. facilities annually. In 2021, that fell to nearly 6,100 facilities. Along with inspections of domestic facilities, the FDA also visits international facilities working to create drug ingredients. Visits to these locations also fell drastically from more than 3,100 visits pre-pandemic to just 169 in 2021.

The agency assured the New York Times that it never stopped “mission critical” inspections, throughout the pandemic, and returned to its normal volume of U.S.-based inspections in February. It also resumed its “regular cadence” of foreign inspections beginning in April.

“(The FDA) is working as quickly and as safely as possible to resume normal operating status for inspections that prioritize public health,” an FDA spokesperson told the New York Times.