GAO joins FDA in congressional spotlight

The FDA's Office of Criminal Investigation is now joined in the congressional spotlight by the Government Accountability Office, which had been sent to investigate it. The case provides a rare glimpse of the GAO on the receiving end of a Charles Grassley-initiated probe.

An initial GAO investigation, done at the behest of Grassley, found that the Office of Criminal Investigation suffered from lax oversight, says Pharmalot. But then a whistleblower came forward with additional charges against Terry Vermillion, OCI's director. Those allegations, which include perks for his alleged OCI-employed mistress, trumped the findings of the GAO report and likely made for better reading.

But the whistleblower said also that someone in the GAO tipped off OCI about a test case designed to reveal insight to the FDA unit. So OCI knew it was being investigated and also knew what the test case was.

Grassley wrote to GAO acting Comptroller General Gene Dodaro last month asking him to review the allegations and report back.

- see the Pharmalot column
- here's Grassley's letter