FDA commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach put on his best “Mom, Dad, I don’t get enough allowance! whine” at a conference in DC last week.
“FDA might fail,” he said. “Peril exists!”
He was of course fishing for more funds for his agency. Last time the agency got a huge increase in 1993, they almost doubled the staffing from 1,400 to 2,100, which temporarily led to a more efficient permit approval process before it dropped back down below pre expansion levels.
In order to protect US citizens from FDA’s tendency to be overcautious in approving drugs, we should remove their veto power. We should be very clear that nothing, and no body could make US citizens safe. The responsibility to evaluate the risk and benefits of a medication belongs to the patient and the doctor who is treating the patient.
FDA should continue with their evaluation as they do today, but the bureaucratic overcaution the agency is displaying to avoid bad press and political examination is delaying important medications. People are dying while waiting for the bloated bureaucracy to approve medications.
Eschenback does not need more funds; he needs a more efficient agency. More funds will bloat it further.