By Ed Silverman // March 4th, 2010 //
The FDA plans to increase misdemeanor prosecutions of industry execs as it looks to refocus its Office of Criminal Investigations (see this letter to the Senate Finance committee). The move comes in response to a new report from the General Accountability Office that the OCI suffers from lax oversight, despite increased in funding and staffing over the past decade. In fact, the FDA hasn’t reviewed most OCI offices in more than three years. The OCI investigates counterfeit drugs and other bad stuff, as well as misconduct by FDA employees.
The GAO concluded the FDA “has relied largely on the OCI director to determine which aspects of OCI’s operations and investigations are made known to FDA’s top management.” The GAO found assessments of six OCI field offices aren’t being done on a timely basis. Of 24 total office assessments that should have been completed by August 2009, only 7, or about 30 percent, were completed and one office hadn’t been assessed in over 10 years.
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Ah, but... who is watching the watchers?