|Grassley tells FDA's Torti to back off staff|
Acting Commissioner Frank Torti's leaked email to agency employees regarding the agency's confidentiality
policies has landed the commish in hot water with Sen. Charles Grassley,
Dow Jones reports. Torti's March 13 email tells employees to
keep propriety information to themselves. Included in that long list was
privileged intra-agency and inter-agency communications, including
emails, memos and letters. It also warns employees that disclosing
information or documents "can result in disciplinary sanctions and/or
individual criminal liability."
At the time, Torti said that the memo
was simply a reminder to employees to be mindful of confidential
information, but Grassley's not buying it. In a letter sent out Tuesday,
Grassley said he's concerned that Torti's memo "goes beyond legitimate
privacy concerns and appears to run contrary to many statutes protecting
executive branch communications with members of Congress."
The FDA is never far from controversy, but it seems the mix of politics and science at the agency has more and more people ringing the reform bell lately. Staff scientists made headlines in January when nine of them wrote a letter to Obama asking for sweeping reform to clean up the "corrupt" FDA leadership and "anti-scientist" culture. The group made headlines again just weeks later when they said they were being targeted for speaking out. The scientists found themselves under criminal investigation for allegedly revealing confidential information regarding products under review.
By: Calisha Myers