A recent FDA review to assess compliance with the agency's ethical standards shows that "the aggressive disclosure and review process designed to prevent conflicts of interest is working well," says Acting FDA Commissioner Lester M. Crawford.
Following a House Energy & Commerce subcommittee hearing in May that raised questions about conflict of interest at FDA, the agency undertook a review of its employees' adherence to conflict-of-interest regulations. Crawford announced the results of that review on June 4. The conclusions are based on more than 1,800 submissions from agency employees of their outside activities.
After the hearing in May, FDA began to tighten its conflict-of-interest regulations. It required that each agency director personally review all employee requests for outside consulting activities. Now, the agency is expanding the number of employees that must file declarations of financial holdings and conducting an annual review of outside activities.
"These are good first steps, especially if the requests for outside activities will be accessible to the public," says Jeffrey Delviscio of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.