The head of the U.S. Food and Drug Agency endured heavy criticism Tuesday as House members accused the agency of failing to act on complaints against the New England Compounding Center, the Massachusetts firm linked to an outbreak of deadly meningitis.
Under harsh questioning from Republican and Democratic lawmakers, FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg conceded that her agency could have handled the situation better.
"I wish we had been more aggressive, and I can assure you that we are being more aggressive now," Hamburg told members of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
The fungal meningitis outbreak last summer resulted in the deaths of 51 people, and more than 730 more were sickened. Authorities say the illnesses were brought on by tainted steroids distributed by the New England Compounding Center.