Asked this morning about the qualities needed in the next FDA commissioner, Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) called for “somebody outside of FDA and with no ties to the pharmaceutical industry.”

Speaking at the annual Families USA conference in Washington D.C., Mr. Grassley said when his investigations reveal a problem with a drug, he often hears from pharma executives who ask to come and talk it over.

“There’s only one person who should be across the table from the FDA,” Grassley said, “and that’s John Q. Public.”

The Senator, who has long exercised his oversight responsibility for the FDA, lambasted the agency for having a culture of “go along to get along.” He called for post-market surveillance functions at FDA to be removed from the Office of New Drugs.

Mr. Grassley, of course, is also the principal cosponsor of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, which we support.