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The Real Reason The FDA Chief Stepped Down

Earlier this week, I told you about the sudden resignation of Dr. Lester Crawford from the FDA with no explanation, two months after being confirmed for the post by the Senate. Not surprisingly, the New York Times found the real reason for Crawford's abrupt departure.

Crawford failed to disclose and divest financial holdings, according to conversations between his wife and other family members. A financial disclosure form filed earlier this year listed common and popular blue-chip stocks, none of which conflicted with his FDA duties.

However, the family of Crawford's wife once owned Walker Drug (a drug distribution company) until 1997 when it was sold to AmeriSource Health, a firm that eventually became one of America's largest drug wholesalers. But family members claim that transaction and the funds generated from the sale had nothing to do with Crawford's departure.

Is this a simple misunderstanding, or just another "business-as-usual" circumstance when it comes to the FDA? Considering recent history -- and the FDA's inability to handle the mega-pharmaceuticals consistently and effectively -- I'm leaning toward the latter explanation.

In a related note, a pair of Senators spoke out yesterday about Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach's stated goal of running the FDA and the National Cancer Institute. Sens. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) believe both jobs have such immense responsibilities, it isn't feasible or wise to even do it.

Just more reasons the FDA, as a whole, is doomed to failure.

New York Times September 28, 2005 Registration Required

Wilmington Star-News September 28, 2005

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