Looks like some scientists at the Food and Drug Administration are doing what they can to influence President-elect Barack Obama's choice of their new boss. Nine scientists have written to Obama’s transition team pleading with him to restructure the agency and lamenting manipulation of scientific data there. The biggest worry cited in the letter has to do with review of medical devices. Obama reportedly has his eye on some candidates who would likely shake up the FDA, including agency critic Steven Nissen and Joshua Sharfstein, who was reportedly the Obama staffer who received the letter.
But even as FDA scientists seek change, the agency is finding itself in hot water for a pricey effort to boost morale. Members of Congress are fuming about the agency’s decision to fork over $1.5 million to a consulting company to improve battered morale, following an independent review citing this as a serious problem at FDA. A slide show designed by the consultants and shown at an FDA retreat reportedly compared senior FDA official Janet Woodcock to Golda Meir (pictured above), a former prime minister of Israel, and Mahatma Gandhi, the Wall Street Journal reports. A call to the FDA for comment went unreturned. A congressional committee has opened an investigation into the spending choice.
(The spelling of Gandhi’s name has been corrected)