March 15, 2006
Von Eschenbach is Not Qualified to Lead the U.S.Food and Drug Administration
Statement of Sidney M. Wolfe, M.D., Director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group
If confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be the next commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach will become yet another Bush appointee whose main reason for being selected is that he is a family friend, someone who has been warmly embraced by the regulated industries – especially the pharmaceutical industry – and someone who has been and will continue to be loyal to the White House agenda.
Von Eschenbach continues to exhibit extraordinarily bad judgment, a lack of being in touch with reality and insensitivity to the hopes and fears of other cancer patients and their friends and families, as evidenced by his oft-stated “plan” to eliminate the suffering and death from cancer by 2015. Eradicating cancer within 10 years is not realisitic, and by making this statement, von Eschenbach is cruelly raising people’s hopes.
He is a very poor choice to head this critical agency, and his nomination must be defeated. Otherwise, the FDA will be further weakened and the public health further damaged by someone who is so unqualified.