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FDA scientists pack a lot of power in the American marketplace. Millions of dollars are at stake when the FDA reviews a product, from the newest in artificial hips to the latest miracle diet drug. Its influence pervades our daily lives. Its scientists can issue a negative report on safety violations and kill a product stone-cold dead, yanking it off the shelves and out of the hot little hands of the American consumer. The FDA goes on periodic recall rampages, recalling drugs due to contamination, production, labeling, and dosage problems. FDA scientists wield "big stick" power over pharmaceutical companies, since their say dictates whether a new drug will sweep over the marketplace or be shoved under the rug to never see the light of day.

What's more, the FDA has the power to shutter an operation. Its inspectors can swarm all over a plant, collating violations that, if they're serious enough, impel inspectors to padlock the plant doors. Nothing's too big or small -- heck, the FDA even shut down a one-man rogue sperm bank operation in California (hygiene issues, apparently).

The FDA scientists holds key to economic life and death of products within its jurisdictional mitts. And it's all for the good of public health. 

That's serious clout.