Drug regulators - the revolving door keeps revolving
Former TGA boss appointed to the board of Medicines Australia, hoping to advance "mRNA technology framework" in Australia.
Eight months after leaving his position as head of Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), John Skerritt has been appointed to the board of Medicines Australia, the peak body that represents the nation’s pharmaceutical industry.
In a recent interview with Medical Republic, Skerritt talked about his new position as an independent director on the board, saying that he was “looking forward to working closely with the industry.”
Reflecting on his time at the TGA, Skerritt said he was most proud of the way he was able to “totally rework” the regulatory framework by speeding up drug approvals.
“Now we have priority, provisional, other pathways that can get those medicines to patients much earlier,” said Skerritt.
Since leaving the TGA, Skerritt also said he was “doing an awful lot of stuff on building the messenger RNA framework in Australia, both therapeutics and vaccines,” the very industry he was charged with regulating during the pandemic.
This has reignited concerns about the ‘revolving door’ of drug regulators, whereby agency officials end up working for (or advising) the same industries they once regulated.
The TGA was approached for comment. In a statement, the agency said it “has no restrictions applied to what employment employees can take when they leave the department.”
Medicines Australia did not respond to my request for Skerritt’s disclosure statement (which board members are usually required to submit), and it is not a matter of public record if Skerritt has a financial interest in mRNA technology.