FDA employees return to work

Workers at the US Food and Drug Administration are going back to their jobs after a solution was reached to end the partial government shutdown that brought the country to a halt.

In a message on the FDA's website, US Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius thanked staff "for your patience and perseverance throughout the lapse in federal funding". She added that "the uncertainty of the past few weeks has created many difficult situations, and the shutdown has imposed hardships on many employees as well as the public".

Ms Sebelius went on to say that "now we need to focus our energy on moving forward and getting our programs back up and running". During the shutdown, advisory committee meetings to evaluate new drugs were not affected but with almost half of the agency's staff being sent home without pay for over two weeks, there is expected to be some disruption until everything is back to normal.