March 14, 2006

Former FDA Commissioner Lester Crawford sold more than $50,000 worth of shares in the medical device firm Teleflex one month before he abruptly resigned from the agency, according to financial documents released to the Associated Press.

On the final disclosure form, Crawford reported selling shares in Teleflex for between $50,001 to $100,000 on Aug 31, 2005. He reported capital gains of between $15,001 and $50,000 on that sale, according to the AP, which obtained the documents under the Freedom of Information Act.

In 2004, Crawford had reported the sale of a smaller-sized block of stock in the company, following the recommendation of an ethics official, the newswire reported. That form appeared to indicate that with the sale, Crawford no longer owned any Teleflex stock, according to the AP. Neither Crawford nor his attorney commented in the AP story.

Crawford left the FDA in September 2005, less than three months after being confrmed. The former FDA chief gave no details of his departure and said only that, at the age of 67, it was time to "step aside." Lawmakers, however, have questioned his sudden resignation.

The HHS' Office of the Inspector General (OIG) launched an investigation into Crawford's resignation in October 2005 at the request of bipartisan lawmakers in both the House and Senate. The lawmakers told the OIG they were particularly interested in determining whether Crawford left the agency because of a potential financial conflict of interest. The investigation remains ongoing.