by Carl V Phillips
Sometimes parody is hard. For example, in their page requesting public comments associated with their upcoming workshops on the science of e-cigarettes, FDA states (repeating what they said in their Federal Register notice on the matter):
[T]he workshops are not intended to inform the Agency’s deeming rulemaking. The workshops are intended to better inform FDA about these products. Should the Agency move forward as proposed to regulate e-cigarettes, additional information about the products would assist the Agency in carrying out its responsibilities under the law.
This would be perfectly fine if “deeming” was really just deeming. That is, it would be fine if they were saying, “we do not know enough to properly regulate this product; we are going to go ahead and declare that we will regulate it soon, but we are conducting research to figure out how to do that.”
But, of course, the “deeming” regulation is not just deeming. It includes an effective ban of above-board sales of 99.99% of the products on the market, among other things. Not exactly something you should be doing while you are still in such need “to better inform FDA about these products” that it is useful to hold meetings to hear ad hoc presentations by people with random levels of useful expertise.
Once you are fairly expert at something, meetings like that offer a decent way to punctuate your studies with new ideas from conversation. However, they are a very inefficient substitute for reading if you want to actually gather information — unless you know so little that you do not even know where to start reading. This is why high school and undergraduate education is centered around attending classes, but doctoral education is not.
Moreover, if you are going to have a meeting at an expert level, you do not invite people who have a general overview level understanding of the topic to present on whatever aspect of the topic they want. Again, that is what you do if you know so little you do not even know where to start. Instead, you bring in people with great expertise on specific topic to drill down on that topic. So if you are going to have an expert meeting about the implications of e-cigarette chemistry, you proactively bring in someone like Igor Burstyn who has a demonstrated deep understanding of the topic and a deeper knowledge of the associated sciences.
CASAA nominated Igor to be a panelist at the meeting, to bring that expertise as well as offering representation for the consumer. They refused to put him on the podium or even let him speak at the meeting. Apparently the level of expertise they have — based on which they are planning to mostly ban e-cigarettes — is such that they cannot even figure out that Igor tops the list of people who can provide useful insight on this topic.
I cannot wait to see who they have speaking that they thought was more useful to hear from than him. Maybe then I can come up with some parody. But for now the situation is so absurdly horrifying that it is beyond my comedic abilities.
h/t Christianne Strang