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Drug Companies Drain Scientific Brains from FDA

from USA Today

WASHINGTON (Associated Press) - When pharmaceutical consulting firm Quintiles wants to hire a new employee, the first place it looks is the Food and Drug Administration. These former insiders bring critical expertise to the consultant and clients like Merck & Co. and Pfizer, but there is also an unintended downside.

As companies siphon off FDA's most experienced scientists, they leave an increasingly leaner, less confident staff that is hesitant to put new drugs on the market, analysts say.

FDA's staffing pains -- exacerbated by the departure of a baby boomers and increasing competition for science graduates -- has caught the attention of lawmakers and consumers, who blame declining inspections for a string of problems with tainted food and drugs.

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