The protection of consumers' health in Thailand can be traced back as far as 1909 — the concerning rise of illegal activities brought about by the influx of products counterfeited and contaminated raised a significant alarm. The agencies which were subsequently established then have been numerously transformed through time, and the scope of their responsibilities has been broadened to keep pace with the dynamic contemporary social changes of public health security.
Here is a summary of some key events which occurred prior the birth of the Thai Food and Drug Administration (Thai FDA):
- In 1922, the Narcotics Act was promulgated. This was the occasion of the establishment of the Narcotics Division, which was then under the Public Health Department, Ministry of the Interior.
- In 1937, the Narcotics Division was restructured and renamed the Food and Drug Division.
- In 1942, the Consumer Support Division, a division of the Department of Public Welfare, was integrated with the Food and Drug Division. There were three sub-divisions in this new structure: Food, Drugs, and Statistics & Registration.
- In 1953, the Food and Drug Division was transferred to the Office of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Public Health. The name of the division was changed to the Food and Drug Control Division.
- In 1972, the Food and Drug Control Division was transferred as a division under the Department of Health Promotion and the Regional Inspection Subdivision was established.
- In 1974, a major change took place: the Food and Drug Control Division was promoted to become a department and named the Food and Drug Administration. The new organization was originally divided into eight divisions: Food Control, Drug Control, Cosmetics Control, Narcotics Control, Inspection, Technical, Public Relations and Advertising Control, and the Office of the Secretary.
- In 1985, the Legal Affairs Task Group, which was formerly under the Office of the Secretary, was established directly under the FDA Secretary-General.
- In 1990, two new divisions were set up. They were the Medical Device Control and the Toxic Substance Control.
- In 1992, there were 10 divisions: Food Control, Drug Control, Cosmetics Control, Toxic Substances Control, Narcotics Control, Inspection, Technical, Medical Devices Control, Public Relations and Advertising Control, and the Office of the Secretary. There were also three small internal entities: the Legal Affairs Task Group, the Rural Consumer Health Protection Promotion Group and the Office of Experts.
From 2003 to the present, in order to streamline working processes in line with government policies, the FDA has been restructured into six product control units (4 Bureaus and 2 Divisions) and four supportive units as described in the following section.