Are FDA Drones Flying Over Your Facility? | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News |

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is no longer considering the use of aerial drones to help assist its on-site inspections of facilities, less than 24 hours after initially saying feasibility studies were in the works.

As first reported by Regulatory Focus, on 16 December 2014 FDA sent an email to staff indicating that it planned to test the use of drone technology for its potential applications "in the areas of manufacturing site inspections, farm inspections, or land area inspection surveillance."

The "preliminary feasibility testing" would explore "possible applications of drone technology in fulfillment of the agency's mission," Andrea Fischer, an FDA spokeswoman, told Focus. FDA has "no formal drone program in development," she emphasized.

Initial testing of the drones was to take place on 17 December 2014 and be run by FDA's Office of Informatics and Technology Innovation (OITI)—an office which seeks to leverage emerging technologies for the benefit of FDA.

However, FDA now appears to have had second thoughts about the program before it has even begun.

In a new statement to Regulatory Focus, Fischer said FDA has now canceled all future testing of drone technologies.

FDA is "not exploring this technology for inspections or surveillance," Fischer told Focus.