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FDA’s Brain Drain

According to an article from the Associated Press, when Big Pharma has a job opening – the first place they look is the FDA.

The former stewards of public health are extremely valuable to drug companies, because of their crucial experience. But what is good for Big Pharma is not always good for America.

With the FDA coming under fire just about every week now and paychecks that pale in comparison to what the world’s largest drug-makers can provide, some of the agency’s top scientists are leaving for greener pastures.

The problem? The FDA is already stretched thin with the departure of many Baby-Boomers and increased competition for science graduates. Now that other top-level personnel are jumping ship to Big Pharma, the FDA is left with a leaner, less experienced and less-confident staff, and tasking them with keeping America safe. The scenario has been dubbed the “FDA brain drain.”

Steve Brozak, an analyst with WBB Securities, told the AP, “What you have now is a big sucking sound of these staffers leaving FDA and going into the more lucrative side of the business or packing it in and retiring entirely. This cannot have any positive effect whatsoever.”

This is leaving the leadership of the agency scrambling to find bodies to fill the vacancies.

Those left behind are less confident about putting new drugs onto the market in light of more recent fiascoes like tainted heparin and Vioxx. And the dwindling numbers also mean that increase of the much-needed food and drug manufactures inspections are little more than a hoop dream.

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