Regarding the Nov. 2 PowerPost article “FDA continues to grapple with hundreds of vacancies”:
For cancer patients, every day matters, and the Food and Drug Administration is a vital player in speeding lifesaving treatments to those who need them. Patients expect the FDA to hire and retain world-class talent. But for nearly a decade, the FDA has been recruiting with one arm tied behind its back. Archaic requirements and inadequate salaries make hiring exceedingly difficult, ultimately posing a threat to public safety and innovation.
The FDA’s hiring powers must mirror the urgency of its task. Beyond higher salaries, the FDA needs more flexibility in its recruitment and retention. That’s why Congress should pass the 21st Century Cures Act, which would unlock the agency’s potential to compete for the most qualified scientific talent. The act is also essential to staffing the Oncology Center of Excellence, a key pillar of the White House’s visionary Cancer Moonshot.
A challenge of stunning scale and complexity, curing cancer as we know it requires marshaling every available resource. That effort starts with ensuring the FDA has the staff it needs.
Ellen Sigal, Washington
The writer, the founder and chairperson of Friends of Cancer Research, is a member of the White House Moonshot Blue Ribbon Panel.