Medical Fraud Missing From Public Record

17:12 minutes

Faked X-rays, fabricated data, unreported amputations—those are just a few examples of the medical misconduct discovered during Food and Drug Administration inspections. But a recent investigation by NYU journalism professor Charles Seife and his students reveals that, in many cases, the FDA never told the public, doctors, or scientists about fraud that the agency uncovered. More transparency, Seife told Science Friday, “is a way to transcend these failings.”

The FDA responded to the investigation in a statement: “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is committed to increasing the transparency of compliance and enforcement activities, with the goal of: enhancing the public’s understanding of the FDA’s decisions and fostering industry’s understanding of the need for consistently safe, effective, and high-quality products.” An FDA spokesperson writes that the agency is “convening a working group to further explore transparency issues.”

Segment Guests

Charles Seife

Charles Seife is author of Virtual Unreality (Viking, 2014) and a journalism professor at New York University in New York, New York.

Meet the Producer

About Christopher Intagliata

Christopher Intagliata was Science Friday’s senior producer. He once served as a prop in an optical illusion and speaks passable Ira Flatowese.

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