STAT, January 7, 2019
Ike Swetlitz

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WASHINGTON — Nearly every person who’s run the Food and Drug Administration in recent history agrees the agency should break free from its political supervisors — a rare consensus from commissioners who served under Republican and Democratic administrations alike.

In two papers published Monday, all seven of the FDA’s most recent commissioners wrote that the current setup — in which the agency is a mere subdivision of the Department of Health and Human Services — interferes with the ability of its scientists to protect the health of the public. They described a situation in which a tangled web of responsibilities, along with political overseers who aren’t necessarily motivated by science, all make it harder for the FDA to keep people safe.

“This is really a plea to reduce the short-term political influence in favor of long-term policy,” said Dr. Robert Califf, FDA commissioner from 2016 to 2017, and a co-author of the papers. [...]

biotechnology fda food health law policy medical safety pharmaceuticals public health regulation