"What we have here is a failure to communicate." These words were spoken by Paul Newman in the classic film – Cool Hand Luke.
Well, he’s no Paul Newman, but the words perhaps apply to the FDA Commissioner. Yesterday the Washington Post ran an editorial, the second in the past several weeks, about the FDA entitled "The FDA Needs Help" - stating that "[t]he heparin scare revealed problems the agency says it can fix. But it won’t tell Congress how much that will cost."
"The last time the Commissioner of Food and Drugs was here, he promised to return and give us the details of how he was going to fix this mess. I hope that his testimony will not resemble what he told the Senate Appropriators last week, which appeared short on substance and heavy on bureaucratic buzzwords. "
The agency is truly in a communications crisis regarding its status with policy makers. Last week, the agency was criticized for hiring a public relations firm which was deemed a "luxury" by critics. The agency and the public relations firm cited both denied that it was true. Would that it were. In the case of the FDA, learning how to better communicate, particularly when it comes to funding, it would not be a luxury, it has fast become a necessity.