Crawford Resigns as FDA Commissioner
After only 2 months as chief of theFDA, Lester Crawford, DVM, PhD, hasresigned, stating that "it is time at theage of 67 to step aside." His resignationcomes at a time marked by heavy disapprovalof the agency and its decisions,including those related to drugsafety and drug monitoring. The mostrecent bone of contention was Dr.Crawford's decision to delay Barr Laboratories' application to make emergencycontraception available withouta prescription, over the objections ofstaff scientists who said that the pillwas safe.
The FDA also has come under firefor (1) its slow response to recognizethe safety concerns of painkillers suchas Merck's Vioxx, which was taken offthe market in 2004 and is facing countlesslawsuits from patients who claimthat they were harmed by the drug; (2)the shutdown of a British supplier ofthe US flu vaccine for tainted shots;and (3) the regulation of heart defibrillatorsand other devices.
Andrew von Eschenbach, MD, hasbeen named acting FDA commissioner.Before being confirmed as permanentFDA commissioner in July 2005, Dr.Crawford had served as acting ordeputy FDA commissioner since February2002.