FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI) continues to face an uncertain future.  A recently-issued press release following the sentencing of former NECC supervisory pharmacist Glenn Chin contains an easy to overlook, but nonetheless very telling, omission. OCI was an integral part of this case, at least it was at the beginning, but it was peculiarly absent in a press release which contained quotes from a string of other law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation (FBI, DCIS, VA-OIG, and USPIS).  This is quite unusual.  While the FDA Commissioner did provide a quote for the agency, he somehow seemed to overlook the efforts of OCI, and OCI wasn’t even recognized as a participating agency.  The only reference to OCI came from DCIS.  Strange, that the only reference to OCI came from DCIS.

As I noted last year, “OCI must evolve or it may cease to exist under the current political climate and the mountain of controversy it now faces.”  Perhaps OCI will be absorbed by HHS-OIG, or altogether disbanded over time through attrition. I certainly hope neither is the case, but who knows. The fact that no announcement for an OCI Director is currently posted on the USAJOBS web site a year after the latest in a series of Directors/acting Directors departed is yet another key piece of evidence, small that it may be, pointing to an unfortunate and unwelcomed fate of some fashion for OCI.  The end of the road for a law enforcement agency that was created with so much purpose and promise about 25 years ago appears to be a very real and much nearer possibility today.  My sincere hope is for OCI to find the support and leadership it deserves so it can thrive as a invaluable component in FDA’s enforcement arsenal.