Fred Figa, Who Helped Expose a Drug’s Dangers, Is Dead at 65

This obituary is component of a series about folks who have died in the coronavirus pandemic. Go through about other folks below.

In late 1983, a staff members member in the neonatal ward of Fairfax Hospital in Falls Church, Va., experienced a question for Fred Figa, a younger pharmacist who belonged to the healthcare facility device that investigated the basic safety of new medicines.

A pharmaceutical organization was pitching a new vitamin E injection, marketed under the brand title E-Ferol, as a dietary complement for untimely toddlers. It seemed harmless ample. Must they purchase it?

Mr. Figa designed a flurry of mobile phone calls and found that the injection had in simple fact not been reviewed by the Food items and Drug Administration. No, he replied. Hold off. Then he alerted federal investigators.

His diligence would help you save an untold range of babies’ lives.

Mr. Figa and the investigators experienced stumbled onto a lethal merchandise security disaster, and a scandal. Officials, aided by Mr. Figa’s dogged exploration, would afterwards find that the F.D.A. experienced failed to enact safeguards pertaining to E-Ferol’s side effects in lower-weight newborns — facet results that resulted in the deaths of 38 infants from organ failure in hospitals around the region.

Mr. Figa turned a star witness at congressional hearings that compelled E-Ferol’s distributor, O’Neal, Jones & Feldman Prescribed drugs, to pull it from the industry in mid-1984.

“He wouldn’t allow it go. He was the kind of person who would abide by something to the nth degree,” stated his wife, Janice Russell Figa, who was expecting when Mr. Figa started contacting hospitals all-around the region to map the pattern of challenges.

Mr. Figa, who went on to perform for a long time as an in-home authorized counsel for the regulatory compliance units of drug organizations, died on Feb. 16 in a hospital in Morristown, N.J., around his dwelling in Randolph. He was 65. The result in was problems of the coronavirus, his loved ones said.

Together with his wife, he is survived by two daughters, Elise and Stefanie a son, Paul three sisters, Perla Kimball, Felicia Pehrson and Heidi Wolf and a brother, Romek.


March 12, 2021, 11:55 a.m. ET

Solomon Fred Figa was born on Oct. 20, 1955, in Portland, Maine, to Jewish refugees who has fled the Holocaust: Paul Figa, who founded a leather-based shoe business enterprise that specialised in moccasins, and Karola (Holzman) Figa, a seamstress. Fred was a person of six small children.

He graduated from the pharmacy college at Northeastern College in Boston in 1979 with a Bachelor of Science degree in pharmacy.

When he exposed the troubles with E-Ferol, he was attending night classes at George Mason University’s regulation faculty in Washington and operating aspect time at the F.D.A., which aided him in his investigation. (He gained his regulation degree in 1986.)

Mr. Figa under no circumstances sought the spotlight. At initially he refused to testify or communicate to reporters, puzzled that just having to pay focus to the details of his function — a focus that he learned from tooling and stitching leather in his father’s store — would garner interest.

He was ever on the lookout for lurking dangers. His daughter Elise explained in a cellular phone job interview that when she was a teenager, she appeared in a local community production of “Peter Pan” as Liza, the maid, a job that expected her to simulate flight on suspended wires.

Her father demanded to examine the equipment. The director obliged, then informed Mr. Figa they were shorter a couple pirates in the refrain.

“He went to the costume area and bought a phony earring and removable tattoo of a large scar throughout his cheek, and he just experienced the finest time,” Ms. Figa stated.

“So, each individual weekend for about a month, he’d be a pirate, then on Monday he’d go to do the job as the pharmaceutical attorney.”