Poop transplants meet FDA bureaucracy

The good news: Fecal transplants work well enough as a treatment for patients with Clostridium difficile infections that the Food and Drug Administration has decided to take them out of the grey area of legality in which they were previously being performed. Poop transplants for C. difficile will be legal, and the doctors doing the transplants will have to be approved by the FDA, to make sure they're getting the donor poop through safe means and not prescribing poop transplants for things that poop transplants don't help. The bad news: The approval process turns out to be ridiculously arcane and time-consuming — featuring a 30-day waiting period and requirements that are apparently secret.


  1. They are just stalling long enough for Merck to debut their artificial version:  Propoopcia 

  2. I dunno, I know it’s a promising new technology, but I think being crazy careful may be warranted.  If you think about some of the issues we’ve had with blood transfusion, or worse, the French HIV scandal, I’d hate to be the official saying yeah, you doctors probably know what you’re doing. 
    Edit: Sorry to be a Francophobe, US had some bad entities as well: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contaminated_haemophilia_blood_products

  3. How long before ‘artisinal’ poop transplant clinics in Mexico/India/Thailand?  

  4. I saw a documentary about a double poop transplant a while back. I believe it was called Two Girls One Cup.

  5. The waiting period for poop is more than double the longest waiting period (14 days in some states, I think) for guns. ‘Merica.

    1. Well, to be fair, the constitution doesn’t guarantee anybody’s right to receive poop. It’s the secret requirements that concern me. What hoops will you have to jump through just to get your poop?

      1. Well, shit! Talk about a muddy area of the law. Promising new treatment ends on a brown note.

        It’s more the hoops you’d have to contort into that I’d worry about.


    MAGGIE KOERTH-BAKER: Oh yeah? Let’s make it interesting. Twenty bucks says I can use the word “poop” five times in a single short post without it sounding weird.
    CORY DOCTOROW: You’re on.

  7. The idea of someone else’s shit in my guts? Eeeeek. But apparently it can be extraordinarily advantageous. 

    What’s worse, this, or using maggots to treat non-healing wounds?

  8. Actually, this shit is no joke.  It saves lives.  Seriously.  Its some serious shit.

  9. No matter how beneficial, certain shit remains immune to the FDA approval process.

  10. This kind of news lends itself to great jokes. However, there’s nothing really funny about it. C.Dificile infection kills thousands of people every year, and millions more suffer from intractable chronic illnesses like Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Crohn’s and Colitis.

    The FDA’s overregulation of this generally safe and effective procedure will have clear negative impacts on the lives of millions of people. It’s understandable that they want to protect patient safety, but their approach is far too limiting.

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