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Executive Summary

Followers of rogue FDA twitter site AltFDA answered a call to back up inspection citations data the Obama administration made public in case the Trump administration erases it from the FDA website.


Underground FDA tweeters urged followers Feb. 2 to archive certain inspection data online in case the Trump administration decides to remove it from the FDA website.


“We do not know if this will fall off the website yet or not but it should be archived nonetheless,” AltFDA @alt_fda tweeted to its 150,000-plus followers, providing a link to more than a decade of FDA inspection citation data.


The Twitter site explained that “these are the listing of all the findings against the companies the FDA has audited. Have been pushes by Pharma/food [to] hide this.”


Within minutes, followers had copied the data to the non-profit Internet Archives', better known as the Wayback Machine.


AltFDA is one of many rogue agency-specific twitter feeds established after an apparent Trump administration gag order.


There was concern around the federal government after the election in November that the Trump administration would suppress scientific data, particularly data related to climate change, by erasing it from government servers.


Because of these fears, people have been copying scientific data to preserve it.


The latest action at FDA suggests there are now fears that the Trump team might also erase data that make companies look bad.


The inspections citations data at issue are from FDA’s Turbo EIR database, which draws from establishment inspection reports of FDA-regulated manufacturing facilities.


The database gives firm name, facility location, inspection date, regulations cited and descriptions of the findings.


For example, it shows that during a February 2016 inspection, FDA found deficiencies in complaint procedures at Janssen Pharmaceutical Cos.’ facility in Horsham, Pa.


The Obama administration published the data as part of the Open Government Initiative announced in January 2009 not only to inform the public but also help industry “make more informed marketplace choices and help to encourage compliance,” FDA explains on its inspection citation web page.


The Internet Archive is a non-profit digital library based in San Francisco that Brewster Kahle established in 1996, the same year he launched the for-profit web crawling company Alexa.


The Wayback Machine made the archive publicly available in 2001.


In November 2016, Kahle announced plans to make a copy of the archive in Canada, saying the US election “was a firm reminder that institutions like ours, built for the long term, need to design for change.”


Find more content on the US election here.


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