FDA Export Certificates


I. Introduction

This guidance document is intended to provide a general description of FDA Export Certificates to industry and foreign governments. Firms exporting products from the United States are often asked by foreign customers or foreign governments to supply a certification relating to products subject to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (the Act), 21 U.S.C. 321-397, and other statutes FDA administers.


II. What are FDA Export Certificates?

Firms exporting products from the United States are often asked by foreign customers or foreign governments to supply a "certificate" for products regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A certificate is a document prepared by FDA containing information about a product's regulatory or marketing status.


III. Why do foreign governments want FDA Export Certificates?

In many cases, foreign governments are seeking official assurance that products exported to their countries can be marketed in the United States or meet specific U.S. regulations, for example current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP) regulations.
Review of an FDA Export Certificate
may be a required part of the process to register or import a product into another country.


IV. What Types of Export Certificates does FDA issue?

At the current time, FDA issues the following types of Export Certificates, although not all certificate types are issued for every FDA regulated product:


V. Is FDA required to issue Export Certificates?

Section 801(e)(4) of the Act provides that FDA shall, upon request, issue certificates for human drugs and biologics, animal drugs, and devices that meet certain requirements of the Act. FDA is not required by law to issue certificates for foods, animal feeds, food and feed additives, cosmetics and dietary supplements that can be marketed, sold, and distributed in the United States, but the agency intends to continue to provide this service as resources permit.


VI. Does FDA issue Export Certificates for unapproved products?

The 1996 FDA Export Reform amendments to the Act provided for FDA to issue certificates for exports of certain products even though the products are not allowed to be marketed in the United States. FDA issues Certificates of Exportability for biologics, animal drugs, and devices that may be exported under these provisions of the Act but may not otherwise be marketed, sold, offered for sale, or distributed in the United States. For human drug products, FDA issues a Certificate of a Pharmaceutical Product containing a special notation that the product is unapproved instead of a Certificate of Exportability. FDA does not issue Certificates of Exportability for foods, dietary supplements, and cosmetics.


VII. What does FDA mean, when it attests to compliance with current Good Manufacturing Practice (cGMP)
       regulations in an Export Certificate?

FDA performs periodic inspections for compliance with cGMP regulations for drugs, biologics, and medical devices of United States manufacturers that are registered and listed with us. FDA bases its attestation of compliance with cGMP regulations on the manufacturer's most recent FDA inspection or other available information. Generally, FDA cGMP regulations are intended to assure that the manufacturer can manufacture, process, package, and hold a product to assure that it meets the requirements of the Act as to safety, identity, strength, quality, and purity.


VIII. When does FDA refuse to issue an Export Certificate?

FDA will not issue a Certificate to Foreign Government or a Certificate of a Pharmaceutical Product for products that do not meet the applicable requirements of the Act. Additionally, such certificates will not be issued if FDA has initiated an enforcement action (e.g., a seizure or an injunction). Other examples of circumstances for which certificates will not be issued include:

FDA will not issue Certificates of Exportability for products subject to section 802 of the Act if the manufacturing facility(ies) does not comply with cGMP regulations, unless the particular exported product is not affected by the specific cGMP deficiencies. FDA also will not issue Certificates of Free Sale and Health Certificates for Food/Feed (which are used for food and cosmetics) when products are removed from sale or not eligible for legal sale in the United States (e.g., the product is under seizure or the firm is under injunction).


IX. Does FDA charge a fee for Export Certificates?

For human drug, biolo gic, animal drug, and device export certificates issued under section 801(e)(4) of the Act, the agency may charge a fee of up to $175 if FDA issues a certificate within 20 days of receipt of a request for such a certificate. This fee may vary depending on the product type, but it will not exceed $175.


X. What are the legal requirements for exporting unapproved products under sections01(e) and 802 of the Act?

Sections 801(e) and 802 of the Act contains numerous legal requirements for exporting unapproved products and other products that do not comply with the relevant requirements of the Act for distribution and sale in the United States. For sections 801(e) and 802 of the Act refer to the following internet address: http://www.fda.gov/ora/import/impexp/ora_impexp_sec.html.

For further information on draft guidance announced for public comment and FDA regulations concerning the export of products that cannot be distributed or sold in the United States, refer to the following documents:


XI. What are FDA's cGMP requirements for drugs, devices and biologics?

FDA's cGMP requirements for drugs are the requirements for the methods to be used in, and the facilities or controls to be used for, the manufacture, processing, packing, or holding of a drug (including a biologic) to assure that such drug meets the requirements of the Act as to safety, and has the identity and strength and meets the quality and purity characteristics that it purports or is represented to possess (21 CFR Parts 210 and 211).

The cGMP requirements for devices are set forth in the quality system regulation (21 CFR Part 820). The requirements govern the methods used in, and the facilities and controls used for, the design, manufacture, packaging, labeling, storage, installation, and servicing of all finished devices intended for human use. Biological products, depending on their intended use, must meet the cGMP requirements for either drugs or devices.


XII. Where do I get more information?

For further information on Export Certification refer to the Compliance Policy Guide for FDA Staff, Sec. 110.100 Certification for Exports (CPG 7150.01) located on the internet at http://www.fda.gov/ora/compliance_ref/cpg/cpggenl/cpg110-100.html.