The insanity of not permitting conflict-of-interest (COI) waivers for certain highly qualified members of FDA advisory committees is not only, well, insane, but also quite contrary to the best interests of the public health.
During my tenure at the FDA I was the senior official in charge of advisory committees and the final decision-maker on who got a COI waiver and who did not. Many did not — but those who did received their waivers because FDA professional career staff made a strong case that these people weren’t just important to the advisory committee — but critical.
Are we really going to pass legislation that bans the best and the brightest from serving the public health because their preeminent expertise has also been viewed as valuable by the pharmaceutical industry?
It looks like we just might. God help us.