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JAMA Proposes Independent Drug Safety Board

Considering the FDA's seemingly cozy relationship with Big Pharma, I was pleasantly surprised to read that JAMA is championing the formation of a "drug safety board" -- independent and separate from the FDA and pharmaceutical companies -- that would monitor the toxic effects of existing drugs.

This idea isn't new, and had been considered several times, typically after disasters similar to the Vioxx recall and the black box warning on antidepressants for kids. And, as you'd expect, the FDA and major drug companies aren't very happy about it either. Based on a new study to be launched by the Institute of Medicine, however, both the feds and Big Pharma may be willing to change their tune.

Congress would have the authority to create this independent board, and it would seem there is support on Capitol Hill for such a move. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) who chaired hearings last week believes in a stronger separation between offices that handle new drugs and drug safety with the FDA.

Due to all the interest and furor, JAMA's editors have posted summaries and links to two articles you can access FOR FREE about the formation of a drug safety council on their home page.

The Lakeland Ledger November 23, 2004

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