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Politics at the FDA
July 20, 2006 12:25 PM   Subscribe

"In 2006, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) distributed a 38-question survey to 5,918 FDA scientists to examine the state of science at the FDA. The results paint a picture of a troubled agency: hundreds of scientists reported significant interference with the FDA’s scientific work, compromising the agency’s ability to fulfill its mission of protecting public health and safety."
posted by daksya (25 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I am shocked! SHOCKED!
posted by keswick at 12:27 PM on July 20, 2006


Gee, no surprise. I'm pretty sure I said something to this effect would happen in another thread yesterday.
posted by vanadium at 12:40 PM on July 20, 2006


Damnit, keswick beat me to it.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 12:41 PM on July 20, 2006


Oh, as an aside, is anyone else seeing text overlap and other formatting errors in firefox?
posted by [expletive deleted] at 12:42 PM on July 20, 2006


It's just another bureaucracy. What did you expect?
posted by mischief at 12:57 PM on July 20, 2006


Oh, as an aside, is anyone else seeing text overlap and other formatting errors in firefox?

Yes. It formats fine in IE though.
posted by NoMich at 12:59 PM on July 20, 2006


It's just another bureaucracy. What did you expect?

Um, I'd expect them to do their job and protect us from unsafe food and drugs as they did for a hundred years until right around January 20 2001.
posted by octothorpe at 1:04 PM on July 20, 2006


It's just another bureaucracy. What did you expect?

I expect inefficiencies from bureaucracies, not politically-motivated ineptitude that is anti-science at its very core.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:04 PM on July 20, 2006


My astrologer said this would happen.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:04 PM on July 20, 2006


Um, I'd expect them to do their job and protect us from unsafe food and drugs as they did for a hundred years until right around January 20 2001.


To be fair, the FDA was a mess long before that Dark Day.
posted by giantfist at 1:08 PM on July 20, 2006


It's all the drugs. Maybe if they were just the FA...
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 1:11 PM on July 20, 2006


Two in five (40 percent) describe their morale as poor to extremely poor, while a mere four percent rate their morale as excellent

Maybe they'd feel better if they found a nice Baptist church to attend and stopped helping little whores avoid the natural God-given consequences of their sin.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:12 PM on July 20, 2006 [1 favorite]


Maybe they'd feel better if they found a nice Baptist church to attend and stopped helping little whores avoid the natural God-given consequences of their sin.

Hilarious (you did mean that as sarcasm, right? The horrible part is that I'm just not sure what constitutes sarcasm, these days...)

giantfist: Agreed. This isn't a "Bush is bad" issue. This is a "big business owns the government" issue.
posted by FormlessOne at 1:24 PM on July 20, 2006


Well, it's specfically a "big business owns the executive branch like never before" issue, which is in the "Bush is bad" category.
posted by nicwolff at 1:29 PM on July 20, 2006


George Bush dosn't care about Science, People!
posted by delmoi at 1:30 PM on July 20, 2006


Mischief, what do you mean by this? That people shouldn't be outraged? That the FDA shouldn't be held to higher standards? This is not some redundant bureaucracy, this is the agency with perhaps the single most important mandate for ensuring the health and safety of the public.

Before the Pure Food and Drug act of 1906, manufactured food and drugs were routinely unsafe and generally distrusted by the public. The FDA allowed the entire modern food and drug industries to exist because it created a confidence in their safety. Without the FDA, the only assurances of the safety of any number of products, including radiation emitting devices and blood products, would be from their manufacturers.

The importance of the FDA cannot be understated. Because of the size and influence of both the FDA and the American market, this issue does not only affect Americans, it affects people of all nationalities. It is in everyone's vital interest that the FDA be effective, impartial, transparent and accountable. This survey confirms many people's fears that the FDA can no longer be reasonably expected to live up to these expectations, and this means that action is required immediately.

It is precisely the callous attitude you expressed that is reason for this situation. It is increasingly clear that the Bush administration has treated the FDA as just another government bureaucracy that they can politicize and turn over to corporate interests. This is partly because they are ruthless in their priority for politics over good policy, but it is also because they view it as just another useless bureaucracy. When the people running the FDA are convinced of its ineffectiveness, of course it will be ineffective.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 1:34 PM on July 20, 2006


It's just another bureaucracy. What did you expect?

I forgot to put this at the top, sorry for any confusion.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 1:36 PM on July 20, 2006


http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/extract/353/10/969

FDA Standards—Good Enough for Government Work?

J Avorn - New England Journal of Medicine

Abstract:

The cliché "good enough for government work" implies that lower standards are acceptable for a job sponsored by a public agency. But in biomedical research, the opposite is usually true. The National Institutes of Health has always had tough standards; its newly constrained funding is leading to an even more stringent review process, so that near-perfect evaluation scores are now required to win support. Similarly stringent criteria prevail at the National Science Foundation. Yet there is one area of biomedicine in which the government allows — even defends — a minimal standard that would be unacceptable anywhere else in research. . . .
posted by hank at 1:39 PM on July 20, 2006


Before the Pure Food and Drug act of 1906, manufactured food and drugs were routinely unsafe and generally distrusted by the public. The FDA allowed the entire modern food and drug industries to exist because it created a confidence in their safety... It is increasingly clear that the Bush administration has treated the FDA as just another government bureaucracy that they can politicize and turn over to corporate interests.

Heh. The Act of 1906 was put in place at the behest of corporations. You can argue that it's done more good than harm (and it probably did, until JFK went all apeshit over thalidomide), but don't pretend that everything was squeaky clean until W showed up.
posted by Kwantsar at 2:23 PM on July 20, 2006


Although the FDA was born earlier, it got teeth in the wake of the '37 sulfa elixir scandal in which 100 people died after being given a sulfa anti-microbial agent disolved in antifreeze. That case defined the FDA as a safeguard against malpractice by drug manufacturers.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:51 PM on July 20, 2006


I never suggested that it was all squeaky clean before W, just that he has used it for political purposes, obstructed attempts to improve the way it deals with drugs on behalf of industry, and generally pushed it further from it's mandate as a watchdog for public safety.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 3:14 PM on July 20, 2006


#1 reason why americans cannot count on the federal government. You don't get quality decisions about state of the art biochemicals from people making only $65.8K per year.
posted by mischief at 4:20 PM on July 20, 2006


Nor even $118K.
posted by mischief at 4:23 PM on July 20, 2006


U.S. Reduces Testing for Mad Cow Disease, Citing Few Infections

Welcome to the yoyo (you on your own) econonmy;
there was a similar attitude in the EU, whee agricultural bureaucrats explaind that taking steps to address the possibility of BSE would unneccesariy upset consumers.

It's okay, they got over it. Now git to mickey D's and get an unhappy meal.
posted by Unregistered User at 4:02 AM on July 21, 2006


BushCo is doing their damnest to prove Saint Raygun's charge that government is the problem. And all the while shoveling favors and funds to "the base" aka "the haves and have mores."
posted by nofundy at 8:25 AM on July 21, 2006


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