Grassley, Dingell call for serious makeover of FDA

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Next year could bring the most significant changes to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in recent memory if Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Rep. John Dingell's (D-MI) plans come to pass, according to a news analysis.

Grassley and Dingell, longtime critics of the FDA, have been pushing for a significant overhaul of the agency. Besides broadening the scope of the agency's influence, they want to replace its leadership with someone who is more independent of the industries he would be regulating, according to The Wall Street Journal. The lawmakers seek to give the agency the power to impose fines, recall harmful drugs and restrict drug industry advertising, the Journal said.

FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach refutes legislators' claims that he and other agency officials have been too close to industries that the FDA regulates. Meanwhile, drug companies oppose the suggested changes to the FDA, arguing that their ability to bring innovative new drugs to the marketplace would be significantly hindered by increased regulation of advertising, according to the Journal.