FDA chief says safety trumps job creation

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg doesn't have much patience with lawmakers who grouse about the agency's enforcement work interfering with economic growth. She and her counterparts from Canada and Europe say patient safety shouldn't be traded away for the sake of job creation.

As the Philadelphia Inquirer reports, the regulators appeared on a panel about international collaboration at the Drug Information Association meeting in Philadelphia. Health Canada's Paul Glover, the European Medicines Agency's Guido Rasi, and Hamburg agreed that science should trump politics.

"We all live in a world where there are important politics that pound at the door," Hamburg said. "Science must be the critical tool that guides us in our decision-making."

Hamburg specifically addressed some Congressional members' claims that FDA has done more to quash job creation than to foster it. Some members have criticized FDA's manufacturing enforcement over the past year or so, linking it to the growing problem of drug shortages.

As Hamburg pointed out, lawmakers wouldn't be any happier with the alternative. "They are not quality issues anyone would want the FDA or other regulators to look the other way on--glass shards, metal fractures, contaminants," Hamburg said.

- read the Inquirer piece