In response to a memo sent out from the FDA reminding employees to not disclose information outside of the FDA, Senator Grassley has sent a letter to acting chief of the FDA to remind them that interfering with whistle blowers is illegal.
Here is a link to the letter on the Senate Finance Committee website.
Senator Grassley is a long time advocate of whistle blower's rights. In the letter he makes the point that the memo last week from the FDA to employees was ill timed in the light of some recent investigations going on at the FDA:
"My concern is that this recent memorandum could be viewed by some as an effort to chill and/or prevent FDA employees from exercising their rights under whistleblower protection laws to communicate with Congress.
Fox example, internal FDA documents released recently seem to suggest that lobbying may have influenced the decision in a device approval. Another internal document shows that a physician was removed for inappropriate reasons from a recent safety panel. In both, cases, I do not believe that Congress would be notified unless whistleblowers spoke up. "
Senator Grassley is asking the acting Chief of the FDA to issue a second memorandum clarifying the situation and ensuring that would be whistle blowers are unencumbered in their rights to speak to congress and the FDA's obligation to honor those rights.
Let's keep an eye on this one...