The clouds are still hanging over Lester Crawford’s surprise resignation as US Food and Drug Administration Commissioner in September, after the New York Times yesterday suggested that he and his wife sold shares last year in companies regulated by the agency.

Dr Crawford, who is facing an investigation into his reasons for leaving by the US Inspector General, Daniel Levinson, has strenuously denied suggestions that an inadvertent failure to make a financial disclosure triggered his departure. He told it was partly based on the issues surrounding the emergency contraceptive Plan B, and the abortion drug RU-486, but conceded there was an upcoming routine investigation by the Government Accountability Office which “he didn’t want to go through again” [[27/10/05j]].

Now, the NYT says it has seen financial disclosure forms – signed at the end of June this year – showing he or his wife sold stock in Sysco, Kimberly Clark, Teleflex, PepsiCo, Wendy’s and Wal-Mart, all of which have food or medical divisions, or own pharmacies, as well as Embrex, an agriculture biotechnology company., in the only recorded interview with Dr Crawford following his resignation, reported him as saying all his shares in Embrex had been sold before he went to work for the FDA. Dr Crawford served a total of 3.5 years, first as Deputy Commissioner, then Acting Commissioner and finally Commissioner.