Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Lester Crawford, vigilant champion of FDA ethics

In light of recent news, this 2004 press release on the FDA website carries some unintended irony:

FDA Review of "Outside Activity" Requests Identifies No Additional Approved Outside Activities of Concern
Acting Commissioner Dr. Lester M. Crawford Nevertheless Strengthens FDA Ethics Oversight

Dr. Lester M. Crawford, Acting Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), today announced the results of a comprehensive review of all "outside activities" performed by FDA employees. In responding to the findings of an internal review at FDA of approved outside activities, Dr. Crawford said: "I am pleased to report, based on the review of all approved outside activity requests submitted by covered employees, that the review team did not identify any additional approved outside activities of concern beyond the one exception that was previously identified and promptly remedied last month upon discovery. I commend all FDA employees and Center management for upholding the highest ethical standards. This review has verified and validated my belief that FDA employees understand the importance and need for the rules and regulations applicable to the Agency's outside activities...."

"This review shows that the aggressive disclosure and review process designed to prevent conflicts of interest is working well," said Dr. Crawford. As a public health and regulatory agency, FDA has consistently lived up to the highest ethical standards. Nevertheless, I am further strengthening our disclosure and review program so that the impartiality of FDA's science-based regulatory decisions will continue to be above question."