Leo Lutwak, 78, a retired medical officer with the Food and Drug Administration who became a fierce critic of what he viewed as the agency's capitulation to the drug industry, died of lung disease Feb. 23 at Suburban Hospital in Bethesda, Md.
A practicing physician as well as a Cornell University professor and a consultant to drug companies, Lutwak was a nationally known specialist on obesity and osteoporosis before joining the FDA in 1989.
In a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative series in the Los Angeles Times in 2000, he said he joined the FDA because he relished the scientific challenge of new drugs and the call to public service.
In 1995, Lutwak was the lead FDA medical officer reviewing the diet drug Redux, which was similar to half of the now-infamous slimming cocktail known as fen-phen. Lutwak said he resisted approval of the drug.