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

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.”

Analysis and Commentary

There’s A Place For Both High-Tech, Low-Tech Medicine

by Henry I. Millervia The Hill
Thursday, September 14, 2017

There’s no question that our health-care system is inefficient and costly, and there are many views about the direction(s) reform should take. Some academic physicians have become enamored of the possibilities of ultra-high-tech medicine, including innovations that embrace variations of “telemedicine,” including real-time personal monitoring and reporting of data to healthcare providers. However, there is a place for innovative, low-tech approaches as well.

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On Trial: The Right To Try

by Henry I. Millervia Defining Ideas
Tuesday, September 12, 2017

We need more research before exposing terminally ill patients to unproven treatments. 

Analysis and Commentary

Outdated Regulations Responsible For Recall, Destruction Of Harmless GE Petunias

by Henry I. Millervia Genetic Literacy Project
Monday, September 11, 2017

Federal officials sometimes fail to heed the Rule of Holes: When you’re in a hole, stop digging. An example is the US Department of Agriculture’s response to my June 12 op-ed, “Attack of the Killer Petunias,” which represents the culmination of a kind of bureaucratic trifecta surrounding the regulation of genetically engineered plants.

Analysis and Commentary

Vaping Bans: How The FDA Is Making It Harder To Quit Smoking

by Henry I. Miller, Jeff Stiervia Learn Liberty
Thursday, July 27, 2017

If you were struggling to kick a habit like smoking that endangered your health, which would you prefer: trying an alternative that, while not perfectly safe, was significantly less harmful, or giving up and sticking with your deadly habit?

Analysis and Commentary

On GMO Regulation, USDA Hits The 'Cluelessness Trifecta'

by Henry I. Millervia Forbes
Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Federal officials sometimes fail to heed the Rule of Holes: When you’re in a hole, stop digging. An example is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's response to my June 12 op-ed, “Attack of the Killer Petunias,” which represents the culmination of a kind of bureaucratic trifecta surrounding the regulation of genetically engineered plants.

Analysis and Commentary

FDA Is The Wrong Agency To Regulate Genetically Engineered Animals

by John Cohrssen, Henry I. Millervia Nature
Wednesday, July 12, 2017

As individuals who spent years in US government positions (H.I.M. is a former special assistant to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner and founding director of the FDA's Office of Biotechnology; J.J.C. is former counsel to both the White House Biotechnology Working Group and the House Energy and Commerce Committee as well as former Senior Associate of the President's Advisory Council on Executive Organization), we know how important 'location, location, location' is for regulatory jurisdiction.

Analysis and Commentary

Federal Subsidies To Organic Agriculture Should Be Plowed Under

by Henry I. Miller, Julie Kellyvia Forbes
Wednesday, July 12, 2017

The House Committee on Appropriations is scheduled to meet today [July 12] to consider the full committee markup of the FY2018 Agriculture Appropriations Bill. We hope it will reflect a guiding principle articulated in a recent Wall Street Journal editorial: “if you’re going to propose cutting a program, you might as well try to eliminate it. The political pain is as great and if you succeed the payoff is greater.”

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Needed: A Spine Transplant for the FDA

by Henry I. Millervia Hoover Digest
Friday, July 7, 2017

The new chief of the Food and Drug Administration must move fast, avoid politics, and confront overregulation. 

Analysis and Commentary

Neonic Study Makes A Splash In The Headlines But Trashes Science

by Henry I. Millervia Forbes
Friday, June 30, 2017

Researchers in the U.K. this week have provided us the most recent example of a scourge about which I and others have written previously: science by press release. It often includes almost everything that is wrong with what passes for science today: ex post facto cherry-picking of data to support an agenda-driven conclusion (a form of “confirmation bias”); hyping of questionable results to garner headlines; the failure of large parts of the science community to call their colleagues on what are clear and egregious distortions; and shortcuts by "science writers" who substitute parroting the press release for critical thinking.