Former FDA employees sue agency, allege email surveillance

Glow Images/Newscom

Six former employees filed suit with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the Food and Drug Administration alleging the agency monitored their personal emails warning Congress that risky medical devices had been approved, The Washington Post has reported.

The scientists and doctors claimed the information gathered on them contributed to harassment and wrongful termination by FDA, the Post reported Sunday.

All six former employees worked in the office of device evaluation and beginning in 2007 brought concerns about FDA approval of potentially ineffective medical devices to Congress, the White House, and the Health and Human Services Department’s inspector general.

FDA monitored their correspondence and twice asked the HHS inspector general to launch an investigation, stating doctors and scientists had improperly disclosed confidential business information about the devices, according to documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request filed by the former agency workers.

“We have obtained new information confirming the existence of information disclosures that undermine the integrity and mission of the FDA and, we believe, may be prohibited by law,” Jeffrey Shuren, director of FDA’s Center for Devices and Radiological Health, wrote in a document in June 2010.

The HHS IG declined to pursue the investigation, finding no evidence of criminal conduct both times it was requested.

The six former employees denied sharing information improperly, but still did not have their contracts renewed, suffered harassment or were fired.

An FDA spokewoman told the Post the agency does not comment on litigation.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

    Download
  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

    Download
  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

    Download
  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

    Download
  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.