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The continuing revelations about the ordeals that FDA scientists endured when they voiced scientific concern about the Bush approval process for medical devices, engenders not only alarm but horror.

The New York Times reported today that the nine scientists of the Food and Drug Administration who complained to Congress about the inadequacies of the approval process of medical devices during the Bush years, were made the targets of criminal investigations for their perceived acts of defiance. As we previously wrote, these scientists had been critical of the efforts of the Bush appointed management to continually decrease the requirements of testing and scientific evaluation before approval. The Bush team put commercial expedience at the head of the class, and science in the back row. Now to learn that the agency’s management sought retaliation through the initiation of an internal criminal investigation against these scientist is, in the scientists’ apt words, "an outrage."

The positive side of the report of this embroilment is, hopefully, that science again will lead the way, rather than be shuffled aside for profit. With these recent revelations, it feels as if the last eight years took us to the brink of a return to the Dark Ages. Science and technology must be fostered and nutured for it to flourish. Did we learn nothing from the Inquisition?

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