The issue of the corruption in the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is so huge, this is the first of several articles I’m writing to expose the agency’s large contribution to “the swamp” in Washington.
By Elissa Meininger – Health Policy Analyst
The swamp Trump promises to clean up. If you have even one “silver” filling in your teeth, this one’s for you.
Below is part of a 2011 article posted by Charlie Brown, head of Consumers For Dental Choice , and mastermind behind years of legal action to force the FDA to follow the law. It offers a bird’s eye view of how the FDA operates.
FDA’S Thirty Two Years of Concealing Amalgam’s Mercury From You...
I. Captive of corporate America: the US Food & Drug Administration
The United States Food and Drug Administration, once the world’s “gold standard” for food, drug, and device regulation, has evolved from industry regulator to industry captive.
Political scientists are not surprised – The evolution from tough regulator to passive regulator to industry captive is a pattern in Washington. Unless an agency engages in a major system of reinvigoration, the spiral continues. But FDA seems comfortable being the hand-maiden for industry; it has brought big bucks to the agency and lucrative jobs after time at FDA.
The big bucks are in FDA’s pay-to-play approval system. Drug companies pay seven-figure amounts into FDA coffers to gain approval of their drugs. FDA staff knows that the cash means higher salaries and more perks in the agency budget. The drug companies know the high fees prevent small competitors with good ideas from getting their products to market. The coziness between FDA and major drug and device companies gets tighter, while innovative entrepreneurs are shut out and the public loses twice: good drugs aren’t being considered and controversial drugs are rubber-stamped.
Another bitter legacy of federal regulation is the “revolving door,” where insiders bounce between well-paid positions in industry to high-ranking FDA positions that regulate that industry. Those in the political party out of power hold cushy jobs awaiting their return to power, at which point – in the game of Washington musical chairs – those in the party leaving power in turn take the high-paying jobs in industry. The current FDA Commissioner, Margaret Hamburg, coming to FDA from Henry Schein, Inc., the largest seller of dental products and a major seller of medical products too, is a perfect example. Hamburg was a high official in the Clinton Administration, so Schein’s CEO Stanley Bergman, an active Democrat, tapped Hamburg for the light work of being a board member during the Bush II years, paying her millions of dollars to sit in meetings and file occasional reports. When Bergman’s party returned to power in 2009, he escorted Hamburg back through the revolving door – as Commissioner of the world’s most powerful food and drug regulator, FDA.
II. FDA covers up amalgam’s mercury from consumers – for 32 years…