FDA staff asks president to purge agency

April 2, 2009 11:48:30 AM PDT
Not only are the American people angry and frustrated about the Food & Drug Administration. So are FDA employees. And now, they've laid out their complaints to President Obama.

The staffers took the bold move of sending a letter to the president, asking him to purge the agency, and bring in qualified administrators.

In the letter, which was released by Iowa Senator Charles Grassley, the staffers said they were thrilled about the new FDA leadership. Two weeks ago, President Obama named Dr. Margaret Hamburg, former health commissioner of New York, as the FDA's new chief administrator. And he named former Baltimore health commissioner Dr Joshua Sharfstein to the deputy post.

But they also said they want bad managers to be dismissed, and asked for an end to "the culture of wrongdoing and coverup."

The letter says "...numerous top FDA officials, have been well-aware of ... serious wrongdoing, and failed to take any actions, while the physicians and scientists who spoke out and refused to comply have suffered retaliation."

They detailed a series of recent news reports of wrongdoing by former FDA Commissioner Dr. Andrew Eschenbach, deputy Dr. Frank Torti, and others.

They said, "....many other FDA managers who have failed to protect the American public, who have violated laws, rules, and regulations, who have suppressed or altered scientific or technological findings and conclusions, who have abused their power and authority, and who have engaged in illegal retaliation against those who speak out, have not been held accountable and remain in place."

They also pointed to the March 23rd federal appeals court ruling that the FDA's decision to restrict availability of the Plan B contraceptive was "arbitrary and capricious." The judge further said the decision was motivated by "improper political influence," not for the good health of the American people.

The workers said that, at the moment, the honest employee fears the dishonest employee," and not the other way around.

Their letter state, "America needs change... because FDA is fundamentally broken, failing to fulfill its mission."

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