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August 7th, 2009
FDA Creates Transparency Task Force Following Obama’s Memorandum

The FDA recently announced that they have developed a task force to generate guidance and to increase the agency’s transparency of operation and decision-making processes.

The FDA demonstrated their endorsement for the task force in a notice to the Federal Register, publishing a public meeting where recommendations pertaining to how the agency can be more available, useful were considered as well as information relating to its activities and commitments.

The administration declared its commitment to “making the government open and transparent … The Transparency Task Force will give the American people a seat at the table and make the FDA more open and accountable” said Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

The FDA expressed their gratitude for President Barack Obama’s pledge to “strengthen [the] democracy by creating an unprecedented level of openness and public participation in government” said FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg M.D.

The task force will be lead by Principal Deputy Commissioner Joshua Sharfstein, M.D., and will include center directors, the associate commissioner for regulatory affairs, chief scientist and the chief counsel.

The Transparency Task Force will:

Aim for public input on transparency related issues.

Propose ways the agency can better clarify its operation compatibility with the proper preservation of confidential information.

Determine information the FDA should supply relating to specific agency operations and activities, which involves enforcement actions and product approvals.

Determine FDA activities and decision-making problem areas (both internal and external), in an attempt to provide the public with useful and understandable information.

Determine appropriate tools and technologies to inform the public.

Suggest improvements to the FDA’s current operations, which includes internal policies and guidance, improve the agency’s ability to provide information to the public in a both a timely and effective fashion.

Suggest legislative and regulatory changes, and if relevant, enhance the FDA’s potential to provide information to the public

Present to the commissioner, a Transparency Task Force written report detailing findings and recommendations.

The formation of the Transparency Task Force is a result of President Obama’s January 21, 2009 memorandum, which directed executive agencies to create new ways of making public information available accessible quickly.


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