Drug companies are hiring scientists from the FDA with increasing frequency. As these companies siphon off the FDA's most experienced scientists, they are leaving an increasingly smaller, less confident staff behind.
The FDA's staffing pains have caught the attention of lawmakers and consumers, who blame declining inspections for recent problems with tainted food and drugs, including salmonella-infected peanut butter, poisonous pet food and the contaminated blood thinner heparin, which has been associated with dozens of deaths.
The FDA's leadership is struggling to recruit a new generation of regulators. Outside advisers say that frustration with FDA culture is a major reason its turnover rate is twice that of other agencies. Staffers who disagree with management are reportedly discouraged from speaking up.
* USA Today June 3, 2008