The FDA has been sued over the use of mercury in medicine. The lawsuit, originally filed in August 2006 by the Coalition for Mercury-free Drugs (CoMeD), asked the court to force the FDA to comply with laws and regulations by providing proof of the safety and efficacy of mercury in drugs.
Mercury is present in at least 45 prescribed or over-the-counter drugs, including eye ointments, nasal sprays, and vaccines. Mercury-containing flu vaccines are administered both to children and to pregnant women.
In a 1999 internal FDA e-mail, an official wrote that the agency's failure to properly evaluate the effects of mercury in medicine would " ... raise questions about FDA being 'asleep at the switch' for decades" because they would be allowing a "potentially hazardous compound" to remain present in medications.