He has little shoes to fill. The last person who held the title stayed in it 3 months, not helping the agency’s beleaguered image.
But, if he does, in fact, assume the job, he has his work cut out for him. The FDA was once considered a gold standard agency. But, it has been without strong, consistent leadership for many seasons resulting in a series of circumstances that have tarnished that golden image.
- Sluggish moves to ban ephedra
- Movements on warning labels for anti-depressants that appeared to some, glacial
- The COX-2 recall
- The flu vaccine mess where British medical authorities shut down an American manufacturer without FDA’s foreknowledge
- The on-going Plan B debacle where the agency decided to shoot its credibility in the foot
- A series of congressional hearings that delivered several very public black eyes
- A survey that revealed that most agency employees don’t believe that the agency is adequately protecting public health
It may not sound like it, but I am a big fan of the FDA. I do believe they protect public health and I do believe they do a good job on the science side. They are not doing such a good job on the public image side – nor, in fact, is the pharmaceutical industry, of which I am also a fan. But in both cases, a fan who is not also a constructive critic is not of much use.
In the coming days, I will use often this space to talk about some of the ways the appointment process will impact manufacturers and the image of the pharmaceutical industry.