Pharma poaching FDA employees, 700 jobs vacant

The Food and Drug Administration has a retention problem, primarily because it can't keep up with competitive offers from pharmaceutical companies.

More than 1 in 8 positions are vacant in the agency's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, which is responsible for drug testing and approvals, according to a report jointly published by Kaiser Health News and The Washington Post. That means 711 jobs are currently unfilled, though many are newly created positions, according to the report.

Sources told KHN part of the problem is the FDA can't offer salaries as competitive as those offered by pharmaceutical companies. And, when a person gets an FDA job, they have to divest stocks in companies that present conflicts of interest.

The 21st Century Cures Act, which awaits Senate approval, could help the issue, according to the report. It includes adjustments to existing laws that makes the prerequisites for FDA jobs more lenient and gives the FDA authority to set pay up to $400,000, according to the report.

Read the full report here.


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