The Amazing Revolving Door -
Monsanto, FDA & EPA

From Rich Murray

Welcome To The Revolving Door
The "revolving door" - the interplay of personnel that assists the industrial alignment of public service and regulatory authorities - has led to key figures at both the US's FDA and EPA having held important positions at Monsanto, or else doing so shortly after their biotech related regulatory work for the government agency.
An article in The Ecologist's famous 'Monsanto Files' by Jennifer Ferrara, 'Revolving Doors: Monsanto and the Regulators', looked in detail at this issue.
As an instance, Ferrara noted the FDA's approval of Monsanto's genetically engineered cattle drug rBGH which failed to gain approval in either Europe or Canada despite intense lobbying and accusations of malpractice:
"Michael R. Taylor, the FDA's deputy commissioner for policy, wrote the FDA's rBGH labelling guidelines. The guidelines, announced in February 1994, virtually prohibited dairy corporations from making any real distinction between products produced with and without rBGH. To keep rBGH-milk from being "stigmatized" in the marketplace, the FDA announced that labels on non-rBGH products must state that there is no difference between rBGH and the naturally occurring hormone.
In March 1994, Taylor was publicly exposed as a former lawyer for the Monsanto corporation for seven years. While working for Monsanto, Taylor had prepared a memo for the company as to whether or not it would be constitutional for states to erect labelling laws concerning rBGH dairy products. In other words Taylor helped Monsanto figure out whether or not the corporation could sue states or companies that wanted to tell the public that their products were free of Monsanto's drug.
Taylor wasn't the only FDA official involved in rBGI-1 policy who had worked for Monsanto. Margaret Miller, deputy director of the FDA's Office of New Animal Drugs was a former Monsanto research scientist who had worked on Monsanto's rBGH safety studies up until 1989. Suzanne Sechen was a primary reviewer for rBGH in the Office of New Animal Drugs between 1988 and 1990. Before coming to the FDA, she had done research for several Monsanto-funded rBGH studies as a graduate student at Cornell University. Her professor was one of Monsanto's university consultants and a known rBGH promoter.
Remarkably. the GAO determined in a 1994 investigation that these officials' former association with the Monsanto corporation did not pose a conflict of interest. But for those concerned about the health and environmental hazards of genetic engineering, the revolving door between the biotechnology industry and federal regulating agencies is a serious cause for concern."
The following is taken from the Edmonds Institute:
David W. Beier . . .former head of Government Affairs for Genentech, Inc. . . . chief domestic policy advisor to Al Gore when he was Vice President.
Linda J. Fisher . . .former Assistant Administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Pollution Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Vice President of Government and Public Affairs for Monsanto Corporation.
Michael A. Friedman, M.D. . . former acting commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Department of Health and Human Services . . .now senior vice-president for clinical affairs at G. D. Searle & Co., a pharmaceutical division of Monsanto Corporation.
L. Val Giddings . . . former biotechnology regulator and (biosafety) negotiator at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA/APHIS) . . .now Vice President for Food & Agriculture of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).
Marcia Hale . . . former assistant to the President of the United States and director for intergovernmental affairs . . .now Director of International Government Affairs for Monsanto Corporation.
Michael (Mickey) Kantor. . . former Secretary of the United States Department of Commerce and former Trade Representative of the United States . . . now member of the board of directors of Monsanto Corporation.
Josh King . . . former director of production for White House events. . . now director of global communication in the Washington, D.C. office of Monsanto Corporation.
Terry Medley . . . former administrator of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture, former chair and vice-chair of the United States Department of Agriculture Biotechnology Council, former member of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food advisory committee...and now Director of Regulatory and External Affairs of Dupont Corporation's Agricultural Enterprise.
Margaret Miller . . . former chemical laboratory supervisor for Monsanto, . . .now Deputy Director of Human Food Safety and Consultative Services, New Animal Drug Evaluation Office, Center for Veterinary Medicine in the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).*
Michael Phillips . . . recently with the National Academy of Science Board on Agriculture . . . now head of regulatory affairs for the Biotechnology Industry Organization.
William D. Ruckelshaus . . . former chief administrator of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA), . .now (and for the past 12 years) a member of the board of directors of Monsanto Corporation.
Michael Taylor . . . former legal advisor to the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA)'s Bureau of Medical Devices and Bureau of Foods, later executive assistant to the Commissioner of the FDA... still later a partner at the law firm of King & Spaulding where he supervised a nine-lawyer group whose clients included Monsanto Agricultural Company... still later Deputy Commissioner for Policy at the United States Food and Drug Administration, . . . and later with the law firm of King & Spaulding... now head of the Washington, D.C. office of Monsanto Corporation.*
Lidia Watrud . . . former microbial biotechnology researcher at Monsanto Corporation in St. Louis, Missouri, . . .now with the United States Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Effects Laboratory, Western Ecology Division.
Jack Watson. . .former chief of staff to the President of the United States, Jimmy Carter, . . .now a staff lawyer with Monsanto Corporation in Washington, D.C.
Clayton K. Yeutter . . . former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, former U.S. Trade Representative (who led the U.S. team in negotiating the U.S. Canada Free Trade Agreement and helped launch the Uruguay Round of the GATT negotiations), now a member of the board of directors of Mycogen Corporation, whose majority owner is Dow AgroSciences, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company.
Larry Zeph . . . former biologist in the Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, . . . now Regulatory Science Manager at Pioneer Hi-Bred International.
*Margaret Miller, Michael Taylor, and Suzanne Sechen (an FDA "primary reviewer for all rbST and other dairy drug production applications" ) were the subjects of a U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) investigation in 1994 for their role in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's approval of Posilac, Monsanto Corporation's formulation of recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbST or rBGH). The GAO Office found "no conflicting financial interests with respect to the drug's approval" and only "one minor deviation from now superseded FDA regulations". (Quotations are from the 1994 GAO report).
"When people are trying to kill you and when they attack because they hate freedom, other disputes from Frankenfood to bananas and even important issues like the environment suddenly look a bit different." - Condoleeza Rice, George Bush's National Security Adviser
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