On its hundredth birthday, the Food and Drug Administration is having a bit of an identity crisis. The FDA has long been conflicted as to whether it is primarily a regulatory or a scientific entity, said Peter Barton Hutt, former chief counsel for the administration, at yesterday?s FDA Centennial Conference in Philadelphia. In fact, it was the subject of what Hutt called "one of the funniest congressional debates I?ve sat through" during his FDA tenure in the 1970s. Now, as various ?omics accelerate the growth and complexity of scientific research, acting FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach told a crowd of pharma reps, consumers, and his own employees, the administration needs to work hard to keep up its scientific image. No doubt its linkurl:recent pronouncement;http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2006/NEW01362.html that linkurl:marijuana;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/23081/ has no proven medical benefits, in the face of millenia of the drug's use for such purposes and scientific evidence (as linkurl:reviewed;http://fermat.nap.edu/html/marimed/ by the...

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