Henry I. Miller

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Henry I. Miller M.D. is a senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution which champions the free market and limited government.

Miller was able to put these principles into practice as an official at the Food and Drug Administration from 1979-1994 during which time he served in a number of posts involved with biotechnology. According to his Hoover Institution home page, "He was the medical reviewer for the first genetically engineered drugs evaluated by the FDA and was instrumental in the rapid licensing of human insulin and human growth hormone."(emphasis added)[1] The rapid approval of human insulin is even claimed as "an FDA record at the time".[2]

Miller served at both the Center for Drug Evaluation and Review (CDER) and the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Review (CBER). Dr. Miller later served as Special Assistant to the FDA Commissioner, with responsibility for biotechnology issues (1984-89); and from 1989-94, he was the founding director of the FDA's Office of Biotechnology. He served in several posts, including "special assistant to the FDA commissioner, with responsibility for biotechnology issues". From 1989 to 1994, he was the "founding director of the FDA's Office of Biotechnology".[3][4]

Contents

Pro-Biotechnology

Miller was short-listed in 2006 by the editors of Nature Biotechnology as one of the personalities who had made the "most significant contributions" to biotechnology during the previous 10 years.[5]

Miller is a member of the UN's Codex Alimentarius committee on GM foods. He is also a key figure in the network of right-wing pro-biotech lobby groups in the U.S. He is an 'adjunct scholar' at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a director of the American Council on Science and Health (ACSH) and a director of Consumer Alert. He was also part of the pro-GM/anti-organic 'No More Scares' group with Michael Fumento, Steven Milloy and ACSH's Elizabeth Whelan.

Miller has blamed the industry itself for the public mistrust of biotechnology, "In this area, the U.S. government agencies have done exactly what big agribusiness has asked them to do and told them to do," he told the New York Times.[6].

It has been suggested that for Miller bringing a product to market quickly is more important than ensuring its safety. Miller counters with the claim that genetic engineering is a particularly safe and precise process and that genetically engineered products are therefore being unnecessarily over-regulated, something that is limiting the true potential of the technology. He told the New York Times, "Food biotech is dead... The potential now is an infinitesimal fraction of what most observers had hoped it would be."[7]

Publications

Miller has authored a number of articles and monographs on GM foods. He has also co-authored a number of articles with Greg Conko of the Competitive Enterprise Institute which suggest that concerns about the safety of GM food are really due to "trade protectionism" and "anti-science fearmongering" and that GMOs require, if anything, less regulation, not more.[8]

His books and monographs include:[9]

  • Policy Controversy in Biotechnology: An Insider's View (Austin, Tex: R.G. Landes, 1997)
  • Biotechnology Regulation: The Unacceptable Costs of Excessive Regulation (London: Social Affairs Unit, 1997)
  • To America's Health: A Model for Reform of the Food and Drug Administration (Hoover Institution Press, 2000)
  • The Frankenfood Myth: How Protest and Politics Threaten the Biotech Revolution (Praeger Publishers, 2004)

Defending Industrial Chemicals

Miller has also taken to defending the use of industrial chemicals. He wrote an article entitled 'Greens' War Against All Chemicals Will Do Little To Reduce Our Risks' for Investor's Business Daily:

Many of the alarms raised recently about chemicals, from those in rubber duckies and plastic bottles to pesticides used in agriculture, are completely bogus, while most of the others represent only negligible risks.
Pseudo-scares and the wrongheaded (and often very costly) responses to them — as in these latest recommendations from the governor's panel — are wasteful, if not actually harmful.[10]

In the article Miller promotes the American Council on Science and Health website with its "Riskometer" which compares health risks: "The data on the ACSH Riskometer show that many of the hyped 'threats' that we hear and read about daily occur very far down on the list."[11]

Attacking Corporate Social Responsibility

Miller not only points to the damage done by regulation but to the evils done by the whole concept of Corporate Social Responsibility which he sees as "the political doctrine du jour of the leftist ninnies" and "a 21st century Trojan horse designed to destroy free enterprise from within."[12] Fortunately, argues Miller in an article he co-authored with Nick Nichols of the Center for the Defense of Free Enterprise, "some corporate warriors still understand that businesses don't have social responsibilities" - that's something best left to individual conscience. The sole responsibility of CEOs is to pursue their employers' ­interests, which are essentially to make as much money as possible, "while conforming to the laws, regulations and ethical norms of society." Anything else evades the CEO's critical responsibility to maximise returns to shareholders.[13]

Notes

  1. "Henry I. Miller", Hoover Institution, accessed 7 February 2009.
  2. "Bonner Cohen, et al., ed.,The Fear Profiteers", National Center for Public Policy and Junkscience.com, February 2002, p73.
  3. "Henry I. Miller", Hoover Institution, accessed 7 February 2009.
  4. Henry I. Miller, Research Fellow, Hoover Institution website, accessed 17 Mar 2010
  5. Henry I. Miller, Hoover Institution website, accessed 17 Mar 2010
  6. Kurt Eichenwald, "Redesigning Nature: Hard Lessons Learned; Biotechnology Food: From the Lab to a Debacle", New York Times, 25 January 2001.
  7. Ibid
  8. See for example, Henry I. Miller and Gregory Conko, "Cloudy Horizons In A Brave New World", Monsanto, UK, 7 March 2000, accessed 7 February 2009.
  9. "Henry I. Miller", Hoover Institution, accessed 7 February 2009.
  10. Henry I. Miller, "Pseudo-scares and the wrongheaded (and often very costly) responses to them Greens' War Against All Chemicals Will Do Little To Reduce Our Risks", Investor's Business Daily, 26 January 2009.
  11. Henry I. Miller, "Pseudo-scares and the wrongheaded (and often very costly) responses to them Greens' War Against All Chemicals Will Do Little To Reduce Our Risks", Investor's Business Daily, 26 January 2009.
  12. Henry I. Miller and Nick Nichols, "CEOs should mind their own business", Investors Business Daily, 27 December 2005.
  13. Henry I. Miller and Nick Nichols, "CEOs should mind their own business", Investors Business Daily, 27 December 2005.
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