Pills, policy making and perceptions: inside the FDA during the "Reagan revolution," 1981-1982

Lucas Richert

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Ronald Reagan won the presidency in 1980 and, as promised, quickly took action to rein in the regulatory agencies and limit the size of government. The US Food and Drug Administration, regulator of one quarter of the American domestic economy, was a target of that regulatory reform program. This article explores not only the Reagan administration's impact on the FDA in the early 1980s, but how these impacts were perceived by staff members inside the agency. Getting to grips with how FDA staff members perceived the Reagan victory and thereafter the tangible outcomes of the Reagan administration's regulatory reform agenda from 1981 to 1982 (measured using budget levels, personnel, workload, enforcement actions, and morale) helps clarify and accentuate the existing literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)41-63
Number of pages23
JournalCanadian Review of American Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


  • food and drug administration
  • pharmaceuticals
  • President Ronald Reagan
  • regulatory reform

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