UPDATED: FDA's Bill Maisel arrested in prostitution sting

Police arrested a top FDA medical device regulator last month in a prostitution sting operation in suburban Maryland, numerous media outlets are reporting.

Bill Maisel, the Center for Devices and Radiological Health's well-regarded deputy director for science, was charged with four counts of prostitution and one count of disorderly conduct and is expected to face a September trial, according to case information cited by Pharmalot. A dozen other people were arrested in a similar way during the July 13 sting in Laurel, MD, according to the story.

Maisel is a cardiologist who joined the agency in August 2010 after serving as director of the Medical Device Safety Institute at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. In his role as an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, he also was a vocal agent for change in the industry, pushing for improvements in FDA oversight and device safety, according to the story.

He has been a prominent spokesman in the FDA's efforts to improve device safety. Earlier this year, the FDA announced that it was closer to launching a bar coding system that would help regulators better determine the rate at which a device is failing. He told The Wall Street Journal that the proposed system would be "a real game changer." In June, he spoke of the agency's desire to consider global data before making recommendations regarding the safety of all metal hip implants. He told The Associated Press that a thorough evaluation would help significantly boost long-term safety objectives, serving as "an opportunity for us to look at all the available information so that we can have a thoughtful conversation about what clinical recommendations can be made."

He's also been a staunch defender of FDA work, offering criticism of European regulatory practices for devices that some say are too lax.

The FDA issued a statement noting that "this is not a matter that involves the work of FDA and we don't comment on personal matters," and that Maisel "is still employed by FDA and has been working."

- read the Pharmalot story
- check out the Forbes blog item

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