The online site FDAweb has put up a page for FDA employees who want to whistleblow on their agency. This follows the negative experience of David Graham among others who’s story is told in the initial posting.
In an interview on the PBS news program Now, CDER deputy director of drug safety David Graham said recently he wouldn’t recommend that anyone become a whistleblower. Yet blowing the whistle on management wrongdoing has a long, if not entirely happy, history in government service, and is protected by the Whistleblower Protection Act and by a special government office set up to enhance that status, the Office of Special Counsel. Thomas Devine head of the Government Accountability Project (GAP) which subsequently came to Grahams aid, put it this way: "Good faith whistleblowers* represent the highest ideals of public service and the American tradition for individuals to challenge abuses of power. They live by the Code of Ethics for Government Service by ‘put[ting] loyalty to the highest moral principles and to country above loyalty to persons, party or government department’ Even dissenters with the basest of motives can make positive contributions if their disclosures are accurate and significant. They provide the pluralisms of views and competitive diversity of information necessary for the checks and balances in a democracy."
This should be pretty interesting reading over the next little while–assuming that there are people left at the FDA other than Graham who are unhappy with the way things have been going there the last few years. Meanwhile in other FDA related news, the President and Chief Medical Advisor of the Consumers Union have an editorial in the LA Times criticizing the Administration for leaving the agency without a permanent leader. Finally, Lilly is fighting back against the claims in the BMJ over the holiday break that it withheld information from the FDA about the potential adverse effects of Prozac. However, even if Lilly is right in this case it didn’t exactly promote the information widely — it came out as part of a court case. Although if my memory serves me rightly the "church" of Scientology was pretty convinced at the time that Prozac caused suicides, long before the scandal with pediatric use of Paxil. Heaven help us if we’re relying on them for our best medical information.