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Executive Summary

FDA ADVISORY COMMITTEE VACANCY RATE IS ROUGHLY 7%, down from about 25% in 1983, FDA Office of Scientific Advisors and Consultants Deputy Director Jack Gertzog reported Sept. 15 to the 11th annual meeting of the Regulatory Affairs Professional Society. Since its establishment in 1983, the office of scientific advisors and consultants "has substantially improved the committee process," Gertzog stated. In addition to a decreased vacancy rate, "[w]e have expanded our efforts to contact professional organizations and academia to obtain more and better nominations," Gertzog said. Noting the difficulty of recruiting good members, Gertzog explained that FDA competes for those members with "industry, NIH, professional societies, editorial boards, and with other full-time teaching, research, and clinical responsibilities." Gertzog noted that "[a]t least one committee has not met in over two years." Others have not met in well over a year, he added, while the average committee meets one and a half times per year. In a separate presentation FDA Division of Management Systems and Policy Review Director Robert Bell, told RAPS members that one obstacle in attracting top-notch advisory members is FDA's $100 per diem compensation. "When they can go out and get $1,000 a day for consultancy, it's awfully hard to entice them to come to Washington," Bell said. He also said he is trying to raise the salary level to $256 per day. "I'm not getting a whole lot of support for that outside of the Food and Drug Administration."

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