Today, I’ve decided to write about the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). And admittedly, I was a little wary about doing so—as heated as political debate has become under the Trump presidency. But it shouldn’t take long to see why I needed to open this discussion.
The FDA is supposed to monitor clinical trials, approve drugs and vaccines, and ensure the safety of medical devices and food items, to name a few of its many tasks. But if you’re a longtime reader, then you already know my opinions on how well they’re are doing their job.
As to how this latest controversy reflects on our current administration, well… I’ll let you draw your own conclusions. In the interest of putting facts before politics, let’s just take a look at this latest report.
Asleep at the wheel
It appears as though the FDA has been more derelict in its duties than usual since Donald Trump has taken office.
And that’s just by the numbers, folks. Warning letters—which the agency issues to keep ineffective or dangerous drugs, devices, and foods off the market and to keep companies in line—are down by one-third.
More specifically, Trump’s FDA has sent out 1,033 warning letters to Obama’s 1,532 during an equivalent time period. (In fact, since Trump took office, some regions are reporting as much as a two-thirds drop in warning letters—with a steep drop off between his first and second years in office, in particular.)
Some other concerns: FDA inspection reports calling for some kind of official action—which would usually prompt a warning letter, at a minimum—have also fallen by half under Trump… and counting.
Meanwhile, injunctions—rare orders to halt sales of unsafe or illegal products—have dropped from 35 when Obama left office, to 26 since Trump became president. (For further comparison, during the early years of Obama’s presidency, the FDA issued 51 injunctions.)
The numbers don’t lie. The question is… why?
Who’s watching the watchdog?
We don’t really know what’s behind this downward trend. But it’s not hard to guess what kind of message the food and drug industries might be getting… namely, that the law is prepared to look the other way.
It also doesn’t take a genius to see how these lapses in oversight might encourage corporations to violate laws with impunity. And needless to say, that’s exactly what we don’t want.
Like the FDA or not, someone has to tell industry that they can’t do whatever they please. Big corporations have already taken advantage of so much, and who ends up paying the price? You and your health, that’s who.
This administration’s FDA director, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, resigned in March. (And I can’t say I’m too broken up about it, but that’s a story for another day.)
But Gottlieb reports that during his tenure, the FDA did beef up enforcement. Their focus, however, was on stem cells, dietary supplements, homeopathy, generic drugs, and opioids. And from where I sit, only that last target really warrants the bullseye on its back.
I’m no fan of the FDA. But as imperfect as these agencies are, they’re all we have. And they exist for the sole purpose of serving the people—so it’s up to us to hold them accountable for doing this job.
I’m always encouraging my patients and readers to be their own watchdogs. But clearly, the FDA needs a watchdog of its own. This one takes shape at the grass roots level… and it begins with me and you.
P.S. To keep up-to-date on the FDA and all of the latest breakthroughs in integrative and nutritional medicine, consider signing up for my monthly newsletter, Logical Health Alternatives. Subscribers have access to all of my past content in the archives and are among the first to hear about groundbreaking discoveries—sometimes decades before they trickle out to the mainstream! So if you haven’t already, consider signing up today. Click here now!
Piller, Charles. “Exclusive: FDA enforcement actions plummet under Trump.” Science, 07/02/2019. (sciencemag.org/news/2019/07/exclusive-fda-enforcement-actions-plummet-under-trump)