Monday, April 06, 2009

FDA Commish to Employees: Take the FDA Back!

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."


Anonymous said...

Thought the FDA belonged to the American People!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting Ed.
Maybe we should start thinking of certain FDA career employees in the same way that we think of soldiers...citizens who serve our (and other) countries.

When you think about it, both soldiers and FDA career people work hard to keep us safe. Hopefully, the FDA will become more proactive and less reactive to safety issues and will strike the right balance between safety and innovation.
Anne PME

Anonymous said...

Honestly, the more I read about the FDA, the more it sounds like a great big clown posse. Here's hoping that agency gets some serious reform soon!