A Union of Concerned Scientists survey of 997 FDA scientists suggests that agency leaders are helping to boost scientific integrity but still are beset by interference from special interests.
A UCS statement says the 2011 survey shows improvement over what FDA scientists reported in 2006. “Twenty-five percent more respondents, for example, now agree that FDA is acting effectively to protect public health,” it says.
“However, there is room for further improvement,” the statement adds. “FDA scientists express concern on several fronts, including their right to publish research and communicate with the public, the degree of corporate and political influence on regulatory decisions, and the overall transparency and accountability of the agency's decision-making.” Respondents also expressed a fear of retribution for sharing concerns about FDA and were unsure about their right to talk with the press.
FDA's response to the report was through a blog posting by agency chief scientist Jesse Goodman. “Preserving and protecting scientific integrity and working to promote an environment where all feel comfortable expressing their opinions and have confidence in the agency's decision-making must be an ongoing effort and part of our daily life and culture,” he writes.