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(New) FDA chief's double duty questioned (major conflict of interest)

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UpInArms Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Sep-28-05 08:45 AM
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(New) FDA chief's double duty questioned (major conflict of interest)

WASHINGTON - (AP) -- The acting FDA commissioner's decision to keep his old job as the government's chief cancer researcher is being questioned by lawmakers and health experts. They say he cannot do both jobs effectively and may face conflicts of interest.

Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach, who is wearing two hats as the new FDA chief and the head of the National Cancer Institute, could face conflicts if the FDA must make a decision on a cancer treatment he helped to develop.

He replaces Lester Crawford, who resigned only two months after the Senate confirmed him for the post. Crawford had functioned as acting head for more than a year, and his surprise resignation Friday gave no specific reason for his departure.

The National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, funds research into new cancer treatments, often in partnership with drug companies. The Food and Drug Administration, meanwhile, regulates the results of that research, deciding whether the new treatments are safe and effective enough to permit sales to the general public.

''It's a foot in both camps,'' said Marc Scheineson, a former FDA associate commissioner who is now a partner in the Alston and Bird law firm in Washington.

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