FDA Director Arrested for Soliciting Prostitution

FDA Director Arrested for Soliciting Prostitution

August 2nd, 2012 // 5:08 pm @


Last month, Bill Maisel, the FDA deputy director for science at the Center of Devices and Radiological Health, was arrested for soliciting prostitutes. Specifically, he was charged with four counts of prostitution and one count of disorderly conduct, and is scheduled to go to trial in September, according to the case information. The arrest occurred as the result of a sting operation, according to WBAL-TV .

The arrest, which took place on July 13 in Laurel, Maryland, and involved a dozen others who were similarly apprehended, was greeted with a mixture of shock and sadness inside the FDA, which is treating the incident as a personal matter, according to an FDA spokeswoman. The arrest, she tells us, “has nothing to do with the work he is doing here.” Maisel did not respond to a request for comment.

A prominent cardiologist, Maisel joined the agency in August 2010. Previously, he was director of the Medical Device Safety Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, where he used his perch to sometimes criticize and cajole the FDA, as he did in this testimony (read here) at a US Senate hearing in 2009 on device safety and FDA oversight.

We should note that news of his arrest, which was first reported by FDAWebview, was disseminated by a source who attempted to draw a parallel to a recent scandal in which other FDA employees filed a whistleblower lawsuit accusing the agency of violating laws by monitoring their personal e-mails. These former employees claim they suffered spying and retaliation for attempting to complain that CDRH supervisors forced them to approve medical devices that they maintained posed unacceptable risks (read here).

The suggestion is that the FDA may be quick to inappropriately and illegally retaliate against internal critics, but may look the other way when an agency official is arrested for a crime. Of course, these are two very different scenarios and direct comparisons are difficult to make. Maisel was arrested for an incident unrelated to FDA work, unlike the whistleblower allegations.

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