Last month, Margaret Hamburg, the new commissioner of the FDA, and Joshua Sharfstein, her principal deputy commissioner, published a commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine under the title, "The FDA as a Public Health Agency." Here is a short excerpt:
"[O]ne of the greatest challenges facing any public health agency is that of risk communication. … The FDA's job is to minimize risks through education, regulation, and enforcement. To be credible in all these tasks, the agency must communicate frequently and clearly about risks and benefits —and about what organizations and individuals can do to minimize risk. When, like the FDA, Americans must make choices about medication, devices, foods, or nutrition in the absence of perfect information, the FDA cannot delay in providing reasonable guidance —guidance that informs rather than causes unnecessary anxiety. For these communications to have credibility, the public must trust the agency to base its decisions on science."
The full article is open access —that is, it's available at no charge.