September 23, 2005
Embattled Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Lester Crawford resigned Friday, telling his staff that at age 67 it was time to step aside.
His resignation came just two months after the Senate, in a long-delayed move, elevated the longtime agency deputy and acting commissioner to the top job.
Crawford’s three-year tenure at FDA was marked by increasing criticism, as the painkiller Vioxx was pulled off the market for safety problems, recalls of malfunctioning heart devices mounted and controversy grew over wider access to emergency contraception.
Last month, morale at the agency plummeted when Crawford indefinitely postponed nonprescription sales of morning-after contraception over the objections of staff scientists who had declared the pill safe. FDA’s women’s health chief resigned. [see here]
… Asked if he was forced to resign, Pearson declined further comment, calling it a personnel issue.
Critics welcomed Crawford’s departure. “Lester Crawford’s leadership at FDA since 2002 has been both tepid and passive,” said Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md. She called his resignation “a move toward reforming FDA.”
If only. More likely a job opportunity for yet another Bush crony.
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