FDA Science Board Seeks New Members

Posted 10 September 2012 | By Alexander Gaffney, RAC 

US regulators are calling for new nominees to serve on the US Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) Science Board-an advisory committee charged with providing advice to the agency regarding science and technology issues impacting public health.

In its 10 September Federal Register notice, FDA explains that the board is looking for those knowledgeable in a variety of fields, including pharmacology, translational medicine, clinical research, toxicology, biostatistics, medical devices, biotechnology, epidemiology, international regulation, product manufacturing and nanotechnology. FDA's goal is to have experts from industry and academia well-represented on the committee, along with some well-qualified federal experts, it said.

The agency did not specify the number of openings on the committee in the Federal Register notice, but a review of the Science Board roster by Regulatory Focus found that the terms of four members of the board are up for renewal at the end of the 2012 term. Under normal circumstances, members serve a single four-year term, with the option to be reappointed for an additional term.

In correspondence with Regulatory Focus, Martha Monser, associate director for program coordination, said the agency also has two vacancies on the board, bringing the total number of spots to six.

New Challenges for Incoming Board

Incoming members of FDA's Science Board are also likely to oversee the formation of a new scientific subcommittee charged with revisiting a landmark 2007 report regarding scientific deficiencies present at FDA. "FDA Science and Mission at Risk," prepared by the Science Board, leveled three principal charges at the agency: FDA had insufficient regulatory capacity, its information technology was inadequate relative to its mission, and the scientific base of the organization was crumbling.

The report said the agency remained in a "fire-fighting regulatory posture" because of its lack of resources and scientific training for staff, and called for the agency to address the myriad of deficiencies raised in the report.

Nominations to the committee are due by 11 October 2012.

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