A former FDA employee scientist asserted, “His job was eliminated after he raised concerns about the risks of radiation exposure from high-grade medical scanning.” (Matthew Perrone, AP, 3/30). Dr. Julian Nicholas told an audience of imaging specialists that he and other FDA staffers “were pressured to change their scientific opinion,” by managers in the agency's medical device division. As a medical malpractice lawyer in Chicago, I am appalled that profiteering attitudes infiltrated the scientific community thereby allowing excessive imaging and exposing many to unwarranted risks.
Dr. Nicholas, who is currently a physician in San Diego, states he and eight other FDA employees raised their concerns with the division director last fall. “Scientific and regulatory review process for medical devices was being distorted by managers who were not following the laws,” Nicholas said, and a month later Nicholas' position was “terminated.”
Now, the FDA is launching a campaign “to reduce radiation exposure from medical scanning. The agency is seeking input from physicians and manufacturers on additional safety controls and training to improve CT scanners and other medical imaging devices, [as] Hundreds of studies have linked certain types of radiation, including the type used in medical imaging, to cancer that can surface decades later.” Hopefully, scientific opinion will no longer be suppressed, and the FDA will take whatever steps necessary to reduce radiation exposure.