Former FDA Chief Pleads Guilty to Conflicts of Interest

You may recall the story of former FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford who abruptly resigned after only two months on the job, a little more than a year ago. The reason: Failing to disclose financial holdings that were regulated by the FDA.

I was a little surprised quite a few media outlets (but not all of them) paid little attention to Crawford's guilty plea Tuesday for two misdemeanors: The false reporting of financial holdings and conflicts of interest. Leading to the charges were seven reports Crawford filed with Congress and an ethics office, leaving off the fact his family still owned shares in and made money from various companies regulated by the agency he ran.

Crawford earned $42,000 on stock dividends and options, most of which came from one drug company (Embrex), and owned stock in Wal-Mart, PepsiCo, Sysco and Kimberley-Clark, all monitored by the FDA. For his deception, Crawford could face fines as much as $100,000 and a year in prison on each count.

I suspect Crawford will receive a light punishment, if not probation, when it's all said and done, and return to the private sector where he works for Policy Directions Inc., a D.C. lobbying firm specializing in drug legislation.

Just one more reason to think twice before putting your trust in anything the corrupt and conflicted agency that is the FDA says.


Kaiser Network.org October 18, 2006

Philadelphia Inquirer October 18, 2006

New York Times October 18, 2006 Registration Required
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