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FDA's Interim Boss Protects Deadly Antibiotic From Congressional Scrutiny

When the Bush Administration named Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach to succeed the now disgraced Dr. Lester Crawford as FDA director, I worried about his fondness for developing new drugs and relaxed standards at the expense of simpler, safer solutions.

My concerns were more than warranted, considering the ongoing standoff between von Eschenbach and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) based on the appointee's refusal to give Congress information behind the agency's approval of the deadly antibiotic Ketek, linked to several deaths and serious liver problems.

The reason for the cover-up as described in von Eschenbach's letter earlier this week to Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt: The disclosure of information that might relate to any open investigation in response to congressional inquiries poses an inherent threat to the integrity of the executive branch's enforcement and litigation functions.

Apparently, the FDA doesn't care very much for Congressional oversight, a problem that's prompted Grassley to block von Eschenbach's confirmation as FDA head in the Senate until the Ketek issue is resolved, once and for all. Sounds very much like status quo for an agency that's more concerned with protecting the interests of its big business "partners" at the expense of your health.

Physorg.com November 30, 2006