Tireless FDA reformer Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) recently confessed that he still has gotten no answers to a letter he wrote to the agency last January asking about its treatment of a group of CDRH employees who raised whistleblower and privacy concerns about some medical devices.

Jim Dickinson

June 20, 2012

1 Min Read
Senator Grassley Wants Answers on Monitoring of FDA Staff Emails

Chuck_Grassley.jpgIn a June 13 news release, the frustrated senator said that he spoke with FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg about this on May 24 and was told the agency expected to respond in two weeks. He said his staff was later told by FDA staff to expect further delays because the response was being reviewed by an unidentified administration official.

In his letter way back in January, Grassley said the CDRH whistleblowers claimed that their private communications to Congress were intercepted by managers and used against them in a campaign to harass, fire, or remove them from their agency positions. The senator asked Hamburg for details on who authorized electronic monitoring of the whistleblower communications, the terminations of any of the whistleblowers, whether electronic monitoring of private e-mails is agency-wide or only directed at the whistleblowers. In addition, he asked whether the agency captured the log-on information for personal e-mail accounts and if this was used to read the e-mail messages, and the steps FDA has made to assure employees of their rights to have conversations with Congress.

“After four months of pushing on our end, at last, the FDA commissioner herself indicated that an FDA response was on the way,” Grassley was quoted as saying. “Then FDA abruptly switched gears and said an unnamed official in the administration is reviewing the response. That leaves the response in limbo. The FDA staff wouldn’t give any more details. This puts us back to square one, and it’s not a good development from an administration that was supposed to be the most transparent in history.”

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