FDA officials say White House caved to political pressure on certain reforms | MassDevice.com On Call

April 3, 2012 by MassDevice staff

An look back at the FDA's relationship with the White House finds that the pair are often at odds and that political concerns have trumped science in recent years as the Obama administration sought to mitigate controversy as it built its case for health care reform.

MassDevice On Call

MASSDEVICE ON CALL — The Obama administration caved in to political pressure on certain measures in attempts to quell controversy as the White House built its case for health care reform, according to a story in the New York Times.

Worried that any political missteps might muddle arguments for reform, the administration delayed important regulations in order to avoid creating an easy target for Republicans.

"This was the era of Glenn Beck, and the White House was terrified that Beck would get up and say this is all part of the nanny state," a senior FDA official told the paper.

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Concerns about the administration's image may have played a role in decisions such as the retracted move to require that movie theaters post calorie counts for their concessions, the squashed move to require manufacturers of low-SPF sunscreens to warn consumers that they do not protect against cancer or skin again, and the precedent-setting decision by Health & Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius to prevent over-the counter sales of emergency contraceptives to girls under the age of 17.