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Lester Crawford


Lester Mills Crawford (born March 13, 1938) is a former Commissioner of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Dr. Crawford resigned from the FDA in September, 2005 - just two months after his approval by the Senate. On October 17, 2006, he pleaded guilty "to conflict of interest and false reporting of information about stocks he owned in food, beverage and medical device companies he was in charge of regulating."[1]



Crawford received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree from Auburn University in 1963 and a PhD in pharmacology from the University of Georgia in 1969.


Crawford has been married since 1963 to Catherine Walker of Birmingham, Alabama. They have two daughters, Leigh and Mary, and four grandchildren.


Prior to becoming FDA Commissioner, Crawford had served as Deputy Commissioner of FDA since February 25, 2002. From 1997-2002, he was Director of the Center for Food and Nutrition Policy at Georgetown University and at Virginia Tech, where it moved to in 2001.

Crawford also served as Administrator of the Food Safety and Inspection Service (United States Department of Agriculture) from 1987 to 1991 as well as director of the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine from 1978 to 1980, and again from 1982 to 1985. Previously in his career he was chair of the Department of Physiology-Pharmacology at the University of Georgia, executive director of the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges, and a practicing veterinarian.

FDA appointment


On February 15, 2005, Crawford was nominated by President George W. Bush to head the FDA, pending U.S. Senate confirmation.

His nomination stalled for two months after he was accused of an extramarital affair with an FDA employee. An investigation by the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general found no evidence of an affair. On April 28, 2006 it was announced that he was being investigated by a Grand Jury over accusations of financial improprieties and false statements to Congress.[2][3]

Senate approval

The Senate Health Committee approved the nomination on June 15, and Crawford was approved by the Senate on July 18.

Short-lived, Controversial FDA Career

Crawford resigned, effective immediately, on September 23 in a surprise announcement. The FDA had been under criticism since before his nomination to the post. His appointment was embattled from the beginning as several senators had threatened to place holds on his confirmation vote until the FDA made a decision on whether or not to allow over-the-counter sales of the "Plan B" or "Morning-after" emergency contraception pills.

The White House nominated Andrew von Eschenbach to succeed Crawford as commissioner.

Justice Deparment charges

On October 16, 2006, the US Justice Department formally charged Crawford with lying and violating conflict-of-interest laws for falsely reporting his ownership of stock in companies regulated by the FDA.[4]. Specifically, according to the charging documents, he falsely stated in a 2004 government filing that shares of Sysco Corp. and Kimberly-Clark Corp. had been sold when he and his wife continued to hold them, and also failed to disclose income from exercising stock options in Embrex Inc.[5] He pleaded guilty the next day.[1]

On February 27, 2007, was sentenced to three years' supervised probation and fines of roughly $90,000.[6]

Later lobbying career

Crawford followed his position at the FDA by joining a Washington lobbying firm, Policy Directions Inc.


  1. ^ a b Andrew Bridges. "Ex-FDA Chief Pleads Guilty in Stock Case", The Associated Press, October 17, 2006. 
  2. ^ Ex-Head of F.D.A. Faces Criminal Inquiry, by Gardner Harris, The New York Times, April 28, 2006, published April 29, 2006
  3. ^ Grand Jury Is Investigating Ex-Chief of FDA, Associated Press, Sunday, April 30, 2006; Page A07
  4. ^ Stephanie Saul. "Ex-F.D.A. Chief Is Charged With Conflict", New York Times, October 17, 2006. 
  5. ^ Cary O'Reilly. "Crawford, Ex-U.S. Drug Regulator, Faces Stock Charges (Update2)", Bloomberg, October 16, 2006. 
  6. ^ Hope Yen. "Ex-FDA chief sentenced to probation in stock scandal", Associated Press, February 27, 2007. 
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Lester_Crawford". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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