FDA Webview (paid) reports that the new Food & Drug Administration associate commissioner for external affairs, Beth Martino, 31, a former Kansas aide to HHS secretary Kathleen Sebelius, has conducted a purge of senior specialists, all aged over 50, in her office and in the press office.
The abrupt removals were made to make room for younger people closer to Martino’s own age, the trade journal reports. ’She’s uncomfortable with people who know more than she does,’ a source told FDA Webview.
Three of the displaced staffers, public affairs officers Elaine Gansz Bobo, 52, Dick Thompson, 65, a former Time magazine science editor, and Ira Allen, 62, a seasoned healthcare journalist, were offered the choice of being terminated as probationary hires for fabricated ’incompetence’ or resigning. Similar purges are reportedly occurring at other HHS agencies, including Centers for Disease Control.
Neither Martino nor FDA senior deputy commissioner Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, whose duties include chairing the FDA’s transparency initiative, responded to FDA Webview’s request for comment.