Regulatory Focus™ > News Articles > Prominent Senator Slams FDA over Surveillance Program

Prominent Senator Slams FDA over Surveillance Program

Posted 18 July 2012 | By Alexander Gaffney, RAC 

It's safe to say that Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) is less than enamored with the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as of late.

The Senator, who has been investigating the agency's alleged treatment of nine whistleblowers and a related surveillance program, took to the Senate floor on Tuesday, 17 July to lambaste the agency's actions.

FDA has "forgotten that it works for the American public," said Grassley at the top of his remarks. "This is an agency that has gotten too big for its britches."

Grassley, a ranking member on the powerful Senate Judiciary Committee and the former Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, was quick to dig into remarks he made over the weekend saying the FDA acted like "the Gestapo."

"These memos make the FDA sound more like the East German Stasi than a consumer protection agency in a free country," said Grassley in his remarks on the Senate floor.

Alleged Stonewalling

The legislator was particularly peeved at the pace of FDA's response to his January 2012 inquiry into the then-burgeoning scandal. "The non-answers and double-speak would have fit right into a George Orwell novel," referring to what he deemed to be stonewalling by the agency.

"For the past six months FDA has been telling me to be patient," continued Grassley. "FDA has been telling me that they have "a good story to tell. Apparently, though, there's someone in the Obama Administration who didn't want them to say anything for as long as possible."

Grassley explained it's also possible "senior FDA officials may have broken the law" in the course of conducting surveillance. "Without a subpoena or warrant, [the surveillance, involving personal email accounts] would be a criminal violation," added Grassley.

Regardless of the veracity of claims of the lawfulness of FDA's actions, Grassley said he thinks the agency has a great deal of work ahead of it to restore confidence in the agency. "FDA has a lot of work to do to restore the public's trust," concluded Grassley.

Read more:"

CSPAN - Grassley's Remarks During the "Bring Jobs Home Act Motion to Proceed"


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