Henry I. Miller


Henry I. Miller, MS, MD, was the Robert Wesson Fellow in Scientific Philosophy and Public Policy at the Hoover Institution. His research focused 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.

During his time at 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 was a regulator contributor to Forbes.com and frequently appeared 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

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.

Analysis and Commentary

Is $13.7 Billion A Good Price For Whole Foods?

by Henry I. Miller, Jeff Stiervia National Review
Friday, June 30, 2017

The brilliant online behemoth absorbs a sometimes careless and deceptive grocery chain. 

Analysis and Commentary

We Need To Apply Heat To FDA's Sunscreen Regulators

by Renata H. Mullen, Henry I. Millervia Forbes
Thursday, June 29, 2017

Because of federal regulators’ dysfunctional policies toward state-of-the-art sunscreens, American consumers are getting burned. Literally.

Analysis and Commentary

Making Sense Of Mindfulness

by Mia Zaharna, Henry I. Millervia Project Syndicate
Wednesday, June 28, 2017

At a recent reception, we encountered a “mindfulness guru.” Yes, that is actually the job title on his business card – one bearing the logo of a huge multinational software company. His job is to teach the company’s stressed-out employees the “art of mindfulness,” which has been described as “awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally” and “knowing what is on your mind.”

Analysis and Commentary

How Russia ‘Uses’ Anti-GMO Activists To Undermine Crop Biotech And Science

by Henry I. Millervia Genetic Literacy Project
Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Russia, and the Soviet Union before it, are experienced at employing surrogates and agents of various stripes and abilities to further their agendas. An extreme example is the Russian spy agency’s “illegals” program, which places deep-cover agents in Western countries to carry out missions of espionage, sabotage and disinformation. In 2010, ten of these deep-cover agents were rounded up and deported.

Analysis and Commentary

How EPA’s Hazardous Waste Protection Actually Kills Americans

by Henry I. Millervia The Hill
Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Trump-appointed head of the EPA, Scott Pruitt, last month announced a plan to reform the agency’s “Superfund” program, created in 1980 to clean up hazardous waste sites such as old industrial properties and landfills.

Analysis and Commentary

Agricultural Biotechnology Is Much More Than Herbicide-Tolerant Crops

by Henry I. Miller, Robert Wagervia Journal of Commercial Biotechnology
Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Herbicide-tolerant genetically engineered (GE) plants have been a lightning rod for activists, who regularly attack them, citing a number of spurious objections. Contrary to their claims, the plants do not contain herbicides; rather they are resistant to the herbicides, in order to make weed control – an essential aspect of farming – more efficient and cost-effective. But molecular genetic engineering applied to crops has made monumental contributions in addition to herbicide-resistance, and these are discussed.