The Food and Drug Administration has filed court papers in support of an effort to overturn a New York City law requiring calorie counts to be posted by certain establishments, reports The New York Times, at least the second time the Trump administration has inserted itself into a local case. The plaintiffs have asked a judge to grant an injunction to keep the city from enforcing the law, which it plans to start doing on August 21. In response, New York City Health Commissioner Mary Bassett observed, “The F.D.A. has taken the position that chains can stop providing customers with critical nutrition information. Poor nutrition is fueling an epidemic of chronic diseases, and this basic information should be accessible and transparent to all.”
In a commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine, Robin Feldman and Connie Wang write that pharmaceutical companies have become adept at converting regulatory pathways into vehicles for profit-boosting strategies. They study the “citizen-petition process” that the Food and Drug Administration implemented in the 1970s to give the average citizen a way to voice concerns. Using 12 years of FDA data, they found that the “concerned citizen” is frequently a drug company raising frivolous or questionable claims in a last-ditch effort to hold off competition.
In Salon, Martha Rosenberg writes that it is hard to believe only four senators opposed the confirmation of Robert Califf, who was approved today as the next FDA commissioner. Vocal opponent Bernie Sanders condemned the vote from the campaign trail. But where was Dick Durbin? Where were all the lawmakers who say they care about industry and Wall Street profiteers making money at the expense of public health? Califf, chancellor of clinical and translational research at Duke University until recently, received money from 23 drug companies including the giants like Johnson & Johnson, Lilly, Merck, Schering Plough and GSK according to a disclosure statement on the website of Duke Clinical Research Institute.