As a parting gesture, acting FDA commish Frank Torti last Friday sent a brief and mushy email to employees. "It seems too soon to be saying farewell. And I regret saying goodbye in an 'all hands memo,' a term of art that I had never heard before I came to the FDA, and one that often presents more clutter than substance. Words, by their nature, are not up to the task. They don’t reach out a hand," he wrote. "They don’t smile."
Okay, Frank wants to show off his writing chops. But then, after lamenting that he couldn't meet each and every staffer through his 'Open Door' policy, Frank seems to underscore just how besieged FDA staffers may be feeling these days thanks to the barrage of ceaseless investigations and criticism - some from Congress and some from FDA whistleblowers - over food, drug and device safety.
"I have just a few thoughts for you as I return to Wake Forest to tackle some new challenges. The FDA is now defined by others. You must speak up and take the FDA back. It is yours, not theirs. You do more good, day in and day out, than most others, inside or outside government. FDA has a mission, of course. But what you give the FDA is character and class. I will miss you all."