That's Not a Coverup You Smell

  • by: |
  • 06/15/2006

Has Charles Grassley finally jumped the shark in his attempt to generate media attention with his fearmongering over drug safety? His marching over to the HHS to demand a meeting with the official who is “covering up” the coverup of the coverup of Ketek fizzled when the sober-minded folks there simply told him to get lost.

Here is the breathless account from the Washington Post:

“After months of trying to get firsthand information from a government official familiar with a controversial new antibiotic, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, marched into the Department of Health and Human Services headquarters Wednesday asserting his congressional right to receive the data.

After a brief meeting with senior HHS and Food and Drug Administration officials, Grassley departed empty-handed and angry.

“This is extraordinary for me,” the senior Republican said outside the headquarters. “I haven’t had to go to an agency like this since 1983 to get information I requested.”

“I smell a coverup,” he said.

Even Post reporters have to put some fact outs…..turns out Grassley does have his hands full….

“FDA officials denied any impropriety, saying they were cooperating with Grassley龝 staff and had sent 400 boxes of documents related to the approval and safety of the drug, Ketek. Some information had to be withheld, the agency said, because of continuing investigations.”

So much for Grassley’s effort to turn the Ketek incident, which in no way affected the safety or the importance of the drug, into the DaVinci Code.

What’s more the FDA is planning to go head and submit the data to an FDA advisory committee for an application to use Ketek for another infection…. I think Grassley’s act is wearing thin and prancing over to HHS to exercise his congressional right (does that include the right to yank FDA staffers away from their job and have them work in your office to dig up dirt on the agency they are supposed to work for, Senator?) only to be told to keep his pants on is pretty damn funny. Hey Chuck, any limos driven by guys wearing black following you as well?

We need more of this resolve on the part of the FDA and companies. That’s how you treat blowhards and bullies who think they are Jack Bauer but instead wind up looking like Inspector Clousseau.


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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