FDA Web site gets a fresher look

The Food and Drug Administration has unveiled a redesigned Web site to give

consumers and health professionals faster access to information and answers

to questions about health products.

The revamped site (www.fda.gov) includes reports on safety alerts and

product approvals that are updated regularly, as well as helpful information

for consumers.

"The main goal was to help people find information more easily," said

Bill Rados, the program manager for the site.

Unlike the old FDA site, which often contained outdated information,

the redesigned site is updated every day or several times a day if there

are new developments, he said.

In addition, the public can comment on proposals and report problems

with products online.

Rados said the Web site was redesigned after a study found that people

were struggling to navigate the site. Although the site had more than 100,000

documents available and more than 40 links to critical information such

as reports on adverse drug reactions, consumers often could not find relevant

data.

An in-house staff of eight revamped the site. Among its features:

* Regularly updated information on hot topics such as cell phones and

flu vaccines.

* E-mail subscriptions for regular updates on a wide range of topics,

including a weekly digest of FDA news.

* A "Reference Room" with links to Federal Register notices and background

on laws and regulations enforced by the FDA.

* Special information for targeted audiences such as women, children

and patients with certain conditions.

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