FDA's revolving door: Companies often hire agency staffers who managed their successful drug reviews

FDA employees often end up getting jobs or consulting work from the manufacturers of the drugs they previously regulated, according to <i>Science</i>.

FDA employees often end up getting jobs or consulting work from the manufacturers of the drugs they previously regulated, according to <i>Science</i>. The agency has precautions in place to try to prevent the prospect of potential employment within the industry from affecting current workers' decisions, as well as to discourage them from taking advantage of relationships with former colleagues after they leave FDA. Through web searches and online services such as LinkedIn, <i>Science</i> found that 11 of 16 FDA medical examiners who worked on 28 drug approvals and then left the agency for new jobs now work or consult for the companies they recently regulated. Although such individuals apparently adhered to existing federal laws and FDA rules, this can suggest conflicts of interest. Some say that moves to industry by former FDA experts can benefit the public if they improve pharma practices, while others believe that revolving door controls need an overhaul. A co-author of a similar study published in <i>BMJ</i> in 2016 argues that lax federal restrictions, in addition to an expectation of future employment, inevitably bias how FDA employees conduct drug reviews.