Drug Firm Investigated FDA Officials

For more than two months in late 2008, private investigators working for a drug company gathered information on Janet Woodcock, a high-ranking official at the Food and Drug Administration -- unearthing details about her husband, two daughters, and in-laws, and re-tracing her steps on a business trip she took to Thailand.

The drug company, Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, paid more than $100,000 to Kroll, the New York-based private investigative firm, to uncover the information about Woodcock, the director of the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, who oversees the agency’s new-drug approvals.

Kroll also investigated a second FDA official on behalf of the drug company -- Moheb Nasr, director of the FDA’s Office of New Drug Quality Assessment, creating a file on him that included his birth date, the price he paid for his home, and details of his education and professional background.

At one point, the investigators hired a freelance reporter to use her status as a journalist to request Woodcock’s emails, phone records, voicemails, calendar and expense reports, among other documents -- without mentioning that she was being paid for her efforts by a private investigative firm.

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