Von Eschenbach is My Muse


On the off chance you missed last month's star-studded performance of the "FDA Centennial Anthem" by the "FDA Chorus and U.S. Public Health Service Wind Ensemble," reader Brad Onstad kindly sends along this must-read roundup of reviews:

One of the agency's sharpest critics, Sidney Wolfe, director of the Public Citizen Health Research Group, describes the lyrics as "ridiculous"' and "degenerate." "There's nothing in there, of course, about regulation," says Wolfe, whose Washington-based group monitors the FDA's drug oversight. "Don't they have any kind of self-consciousness?"

Sen. Ted Kennedy was equally unamused. CSPI'S Michael Jacobson? Hated it. The guy who wrote it, though, was profoundly moved:

"I just got to thinking about trying to express my feelings about my job with some words and music," says Harris, who has worked at the FDA for 35 years…

For weeks, Harris sat in the corner of his basement, sometimes staying up until midnight after a full day of work. He used an electric keyboard hooked up to his computer to compose the anthem.

Lyrics to the 126-word regulatory love-letter are here. And oh yes, there is video.


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  1. This may be the most insipid and boring thing of which I ever heard.

  2. This may be the most insipid and boring thing of which I ever heard.

  3. The FDA director later denied that 86.8% of lab rats died within 27 seconds of exposure to the anthem, and also denied reports that the remainder survived only by gnawing their tails off.

  4. Protecting rights that our founding fathers willed
    To life and liberty, to happiness pursued.

    That line violates at least three FDA labeling regulations.

  5. ‘Cause we’re the F.D.A., we regulate.
    (F.D.A.) And we’ll make you wait!
    (F.D.A.) We’re power hos.
    (F.D.A.) Watch us repose!

  6. This is nowhere near as stirring as the operatic “Glaucoma Hymn” of the Association of International Glaucoma Societies.


    The sound file is worth downloading, believe me. You’ll be singing it to yourself for days and days afterward. It will never truly leave you.

  7. What are you doing online, Stevo? I thought y’all lost electricity where you are.

  8. I don’t know which disturbs me more: the horrible vocal quality of the singers, the insipid lyrics, the fact that my tax money paid not only for the writing, rehearsal, production, and performance of this drivel, or the pseudo-military uniform of the singer in the front row who obviously took the term “surgeon general” a little too literally.

  9. Eh, it still beats Rush.


  10. Ugh…I couldn’t even sit through it!

  11. Like dribble from my penis…
    So are the regulators of our lives…

  12. From todays Pharmaceutical Newsletter.

    FDA Disputes Survey’s Conclusion That Its Scientists’ Mission is Compromised The FDA disagrees with a public interest group survey that concluded agency scientists are often subjected to political and commercial interference that compromises their mission to protect public health and safety. The Union of Concerned Scientists and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility surveyed 997 FDA staff members earlier this year, and among the findings, 47% of respondents said they knew of situations where “commercial interests” improperly tried to have an FDA conclusion reversed, withdrawn or modified. An FDA spokeswomen responded to the survey by saying, “The survey is highly unscientific, with a number of leading questions and innuendo, and it is unclear what percentage of those who replied to it are actually involved in scientific decision making here at FDA. ” (The Star-Ledger) .

    If their mission is to make crappie literature they are doing well beyond all our expectations.

    Bad Anthems.. Ask your doctor if its right for you!

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