business news in context, analysis with attitude

Revealing interview in Fortune with Dr. Margaret Hamburg, commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in which she lays out her plans and priorities. Some excerpts:

Her goal for the FDA: “I want to restore faith and trust in the FDA as a science-driven agency. I want to be a vocal advocate for the resources we require. It's stunning how underfunded we are given the importance of what we do. ... I think, as a nation, it is critically important that we strengthen our commitment to regulatory science to make it a robust and respected discipline in the broader scientific enterprise.”

Transparency & crisis management: “I think it's important to break down the perception of the FDA as a bureaucratic ‘black box.’ That's why the transparency initiative we've undertaken is so important ... I also think we have to recognize that we live in a world where there will always be risk and crises, but I think there is a great deal more we can do to prevent these problems. During a crisis we have to not be afraid to communicate rather than circle the wagons, which has happened before. We have been taking a very clear-eyed look at past problems to learn from those mistakes.”

The nutrition mission: “Obviously sodium and fats and sugar are hugely important in contributing to disease -- obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. By our activities in the area of nutritional labeling we can not only inform consumers about how to make healthy choices, but we can also help move the industries to develop production strategies that reduce some of those contributors to disease.”
KC's View:
If the new management at the FDA is willing to be more transparent, more communicative, and more oriented toward science, then that is a good thing for consumers...and, ultimately, for business.