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Probe Urged Of Allegations Against FDA

Nov 25, 2004 | Washington Post The chairman of the Senate Finance Committee yesterday called on the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services to investigate alleged attempts to discredit a Food and Drug Administration whistle-blower.

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa) cited allegations that FDA managers attempted to discredit David J. Graham, an agency safety officer who has charged that several approved prescription medications are unsafe.

"If these allegations indeed have merit," Grassley wrote to HHS's acting inspector general, Daniel R. Levinson, "it appears that these activities may have been coordinated by FDA management and may have involved the misuse of government resources, including government property and time."

The allegation that FDA managers were trying to discredit Graham was raised Tuesday by Tom Devine of the nonprofit Government Accountability Project. Devine said Graham contacted him some weeks ago about how to get word to the public about the dangers of the prescription drug Vioxx. Soon after, Devine received anonymous calls that cast aspersions on Graham's credibility.

Devine deduced he was talking to FDA managers by their telephone numbers and documents they sent him.

Vioxx was withdrawn from the market in September by its maker, Merck & Co.

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