The Food and Drug Administration is continuing the suspension of an official who accepted entertainment from a Washington-area company when the agency was taking actions crucial to the firm, the FDA announced yesterday.
The FDA employe, microbiologist Mary Bruch, was first put on "nonduty status with pay" on June 1. This followed disclosure by staff members of the House subcommittee on oversight and investigations that Bruch had been entertained on numerous occasions between 1974 and 1979 at restaurants and race tracks by Burton, Parsons & Co. Inc. of Seat Pleasant.
At the time, Bruch allegedly directed the agency in decisions that permitted Burton, Parsons to gain control of the manufacturing and marketing of various cleansing and purifying solutions specified by the FDA for soft contact lenses.
Another FDA official who was entertained by the company, ophthalmologist Dr. Arnauld Scafidi, resigned earlier this month.
In its announcement yesterday, the FDA said:
"Mary Bruch Friday was provided with a letter from the commissioner of the FDA proposing further personnel action. Mrs. Bruch will remain on a nonduty status with pay while she has an opportunity to respond. The Privacy Act precludes the release of any information about the nature of the proposed action."
An FDA spokesman said that the "agency practice" allows Bruch 15 days to respond to the commissioner's letter.
Bruch and Scafidi are under investigation by the FBI under the direction of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Baltimore and by the Inspector General's Office of the Department of Health and Human Services