By: Vera Hassner Sharav
On November 23, 2010, Terry Vermillion, Director of FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigation announced his retirement next month.
The announcement came after several years of criticism by Republicans in Congress who raised concern about his misdirection of the Office’s resources: instead of pursuing drug companies and researchers who commit crimes when seeking FDA approval for drugs, OCI pursued drug-abuse cases–which are the purview of the Drug Enforcement Agency.
On September 16, 2010, Senator Chuck Grassley sent a letter to the Acting Comptroller General of the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) complaining about a “less than stellar” GAO investigative report that the Senator had requested. The GAO was charged with investigating the activities of OCI.
Sen. Grassley’s letter was prompted by a whistleblower’s complaint who charged Vermillion of misconduct, and indicated that someone at the GAO had tipped off someone at OCI about the investigation–thereby compromising the investigation and the report.
“The thought that someone at the GAO may have compromised the testing of a system unfortunately, brings the integrity of the entire report into question if it’s determined to be true.”
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