Henry I. Miller

Robert Wesson Fellow in Scientific Philosophy and Public Policy

Henry I. Miller, MS, MD, is the Robert Wesson Fellow in Scientific Philosophy and Public Policy at the Hoover Institution. His research focuses on public policy toward science and technology, encompassing a number of areas, including pharmaceutical development, genetic engineering in agriculture, models for regulatory reform, and the emergence of new viral diseases.

Miller served for fifteen years at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in a number of posts. He was the medical reviewer for the first genetically engineered drugs to be evaluated by the FDA and thus instrumental in the rapid licensing of human insulin and human growth hormone. Thereafter, he was a special assistant to the FDA commissioner and the founding director of the FDA's Office of Biotechnology. During his government service, Miller participated frequently on various expert and policy panels as a representative of the FDA or the US government. As a government official, Miller received numerous awards and citations.

Since coming to the Hoover Institution, Miller has become well known not only for his contributions to scholarly journals but also for his articles and books that make science, medicine, and technology accessible. His work has been widely published in many languages. Monographs include Policy Controversy in Biotechnology: An Insider's View; To America's Health: A Model for Reform of the Food and Drug Administration; and The Frankenfood Myth: How Protest and Politics Threaten the Biotech Revolution. Barron's selected The Frankenfood Myth as one of the 25 Best Books of 2004. In addition, Miller has published extensively in a wide spectrum of scholarly journals and popular publications worldwide, including The Lancet, Journal of the American Medical Association, Science, the Nature family of journals, Chronicle of Higher Education, Forbes, National Review, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, the Guardian, Defining Ideas, and the Financial Times. He is a regulator contributor to Forbes.com and frequently appears on the nationally syndicated radio programs of John Batchelor and Lars Larson.

Miller was selected by the editors of Nature Biotechnology as one of the people who had made the "most significant contributions" to biotechnology during the previous decade. He serves on numerous editorial boards.

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Recent Commentary

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Blooming Nonsense

by Henry I. Millervia Hoover Digest
Monday, October 23, 2017

Panic blossoms after the discovery of genetically modified petunias; scientists wilt. 

Analysis and Commentary

Medical Innovation Shouldn’t Cause Pioneers To Jump Through Hoops

by Henry I. Miller, Jeff Stiervia The Hill
Monday, October 16, 2017

Sloppy lawmaking that needs to be neutralized by baroque, inventive work-arounds makes for bad public policy. We’re seeing that currently in the patenting arena: Clever lawyers have devised surprising ways to circumvent glitches in the system that have evolved as the result of legislation and court decisions. The situation cries out for a legislative fix to put an end to the legal maneuvering.


Gene Editing Is Here, And Desperate Patients Want It

by Henry I. Millervia Wall Street Journal
Thursday, October 12, 2017

Two-thirds of Americans support therapeutic use, but regulators are still stuck in the 1970s.

Analysis and Commentary

A Bigger Russian Threat: Disrupting U.S. Innovation

by Henry I. Millervia American Greatness
Thursday, October 5, 2017

Russia, like the Soviet Union before it, is experienced at employing surrogates and agents of various stripes and talents to further its agendas. The most recent example was a “trending topic” story on Facebook about the Las Vegas shooting published by Sputnik, a news agency controlled by the Russian government; the item claimed, inaccurately, that the FBI had found a connection between the shooter and Daesh, also known as ISIS.

Analysis and Commentary

Over-Regulation At USDA Is Holding Back American Agriculture

by Henry I. Millervia The Hill
Monday, October 2, 2017

The Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR) will tackle “key problems” in the industry at its October 6 annual board meeting including optimizing agricultural water usage and improving soil health. And while those issues are important, FFAR is ignoring the most pressing issue in the industry — excessive and wrong-headed government regulation.

Analysis and Commentary

The U.N. Is Designed To Fail

by Henry I. Millervia American Greatness
Tuesday, September 26, 2017

The annual meeting of the United Nations General Assembly last week, and President Trump’s widely noted remarks there, focused much-needed attention on the organization. The dithering and inaction on critical international problems Trump noted served as a reminder that the U.N. has long been dysfunctional and disappointing. That is not surprising: It was designed to fail.

Analysis and Commentary

Golden Rice – A Miracle Tarnished By Irresponsible Activism

by Henry I. Millervia The Hill
Tuesday, September 26, 2017

“Their eyes tell their sad stories as ghostly white irises give way to vacant stares. We can look at them but they can’t look back at us. They’ve gone blind because of malnutrition.,” V. Ravichandran, a farmer in Tamil Nadu, India, describing children suffering from vitamin A deficiency.

Analysis and Commentary

Genetic Engineering Applied To Agriculture Has A Long Row To Hoe

by Henry I. Millervia GM Crops & Food
Thursday, September 21, 2017

In spite of the lack of scientific justification for skepticism about crops modified with molecular techniques of genetic engineering, they have been the most scrutinized agricultural products in human history. The assumption that “genetically engineered” or “genetically modified” is a meaningful – and dangerous – classification has led to excessive and dilatory regulation. 

Analysis and Commentary

Dysfunctional Federal Regulation Has Worsened The Post-Hurricane Mosquito Threat

by John Cohrssen, Henry I. Millervia The Hill
Thursday, September 21, 2017

In the aftermath of the devastation of buildings and infrastructure and the toxic marinade of floodwaters by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Mother Nature is literally hatching another hazard: disease-carrying mosquitoes that will find new breeding grounds in the innumerable pools of standing water from torrential rains and storm surges.

Analysis and Commentary

Insecticides, Raw Milk, Coal — Sometimes Good Intentions Turn Bad

by Henry I. Millervia San Jose Mercury News
Friday, September 15, 2017

With phrases like “better safe than sorry” and “look before you leap,” it’s clear that concerns about risk are a part of our psyche. Unfortunately, when we take those clichés to heart, we often end up plagued by another: “Out of the frying pan and into the fire.”