We can only hope that whoever replaces Dr. Margaret Hamburg as FDA head won’t be quite as friendly.
Industry friendly, that is.
Hamburg, a member of Obama’s original team, will no doubt be missed by many in Big Pharma.
Especially after all the dicey drugs she helped them fast track to approval during her nearly six years on the job.
Drugs that included a whole slew of risky diabetes meds, blood thinners, and insanely dangerous ways to lose weight. In fact, there have been so many new ones in the past couple years, that the drug industry, which had been in a slump due to so many expiring patents, is now ready to roll out a whole new crop of TV ads to sell them to us.
In a blog post, Hamburg has called the agency’s approval of 51 new therapies last year “a testament … to FDA’s innovative approaches to help expedite development and review of medical products that target unmet medical needs.”
And you can just bet a lot of those “unmet medical needs” are things few knew even existed. That is, until Big Pharma began to “target” them with new products.
Of course it wasn’t just Big Pharma’s wishes that Hamburg indulged.
She was a favorite of Big Food, too.
Several news stories about Hamburg’s departure from the FDA give her kudos for the agency’s proposal to ban trans fats in processed foods.
But what those stories don’t mention is that the proposal has gone nowhere since it was made over a year ago. And in that time, trans fats have killed more than 7,000 Americans, according to the FDA’s own estimate.
Of course, we don’t know who will be brought in to fill her shoes. But based on every decision Obama has made so far, we can bet it will be someone with a close tie to Big Pharma –and the golf game to prove it.
“F.D.A. commissioner leaving after six years of breakneck changes” Sabrina Tavernise, February 5, 2015, The New York Times, nytimes.com