7 lawmakers introduce bill to slow 'revolving door' between FDA, DEA and pharma

Seven Democratic senators introduced legislation Thursday that would bar former FDA and Drug Enforcement Agency officials, for two years, from assisting the pharmaceutical industry with lobbying efforts, according to The Washington Post.

The bill is aimed at slowing the "revolving door" between federal agencies and pharmaceutical companies.

"The pharmaceutical industry has a deep-rooted and strong influence in Washington, and a revolving door between drug companies and government cannot undermine the safety of our communities," Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., who sponsored the bill, told The Washington Post.

In addition to the two-year period barring FDA and DEA officials from assisting drugmakers, the bill also expands the definition of "lobbying contact" to include taking part in strategy sessions and limits the issues pharmaceutical industry executives could help with if they take a role in a government agency. 

Due to the complexity of drug laws, it is not uncommon for pharma executives take on government roles or for federal employees to switch to the private sector, according to the report.  

Currently there are regulations in place to prevent conflicts of interest in the "revolving door" phenomenon, such as a lifetime ban on participating personally on a matter that the official handled while at the government. However, experts say these laws are easily avoidable.

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