The FDA Is Spying on Its Own Scientists

Back in 2010, the Times reported on a scuffle within the FDA involving radiological screening devices made by General Electric. Agency scientists had expressed concern about excessive cancer risk posed by GE's products, and feared that the agency would ignore their concerns and side with the powerful corporation. Here's how the Timesdescribed it:

Scores of internal agency documents made available to The New York Times show that agency managers sought to approve an application by General Electric to allow the use of CT scans for colon cancer screenings over the repeated objections of agency scientists, who wanted the application rejected.

Since then, according to an eye-popping Times story earlier this month, the FDA has done the following things:

(1) approved GE's application over the objection of those scientists;

(2) launched an extraordinary surveillance campaign to monitor the computer activity of the scientists and their attempts to blow the whistle; and

(3) fired several of them, who have in turn filed suit claiming they were axed in retaliation for whistle-blowing. [emphasis mine]

And here's the kicker: The scientists were apparently right. The Times reported last week that the US Office of Special Counsel, an independent federal investigative agency, has "found a 'significant likelihood' that the devices posed 'a substantial and specific danger to public safety' as the scientists had warned." [emphasis mine]

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Looks like the FDA is going against the scientist and trying to keep them quiet.

Thanks for this interesting article Ruth.
I think either we give corporations (and government departments) ethics or we stop calling corporations persons (and revoke governmental departments carte blanche) in a legal sense. The practice has conflated legal fictions with real individuals and casts us all in a pejorative context.

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