FDA goes on hiring binge to fill research ranks

Chemists, biologists and microbiologists are among more than 1,000 people newly recruited into the ranks of the FDA. And more are on the way. Most of the new recruits are being assigned to the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. The FDA is beefing up its workforce by about 10 percent overall as well as replacing retiring workers and has been on a recruiting drive since last spring.

So far, though, the FDA has fallen short on its goal to recruit more cancer specialists. An FDA official said that nine people had accepted job offers while 20 had turned the agency down. And money was the prime cause for their reluctance. Oncologists typically can earn around $400,000 and the FDA was able to provide only $275,000 a year.

It also remains to be seen how long the FDA can keep up its numbers. Past hiring drives have led to sudden surges in rank-and-file workers which have slowly melted away as new workers become disenchanted with low wage hikes common in government agencies.

- read the AP report