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FDA Whistle Blower Is My New Hero

Dr. David Graham is one of my new heroes. He is the person who blew the whistle on the FDA when he testified before Congress last week. Last week he said "The approval of Vioxx by the US Food and Drug Administration has led to the "single greatest drug safety catastrophe in the history of this country or the history of the world".

Dr Graham is currently the associate director in the FDA's Office of Drug Safety, said an estimated 88,000 to 139,000 Americans had heart attacks and strokes as a result of taking Vioxx. It is belived that 55,000 of these people actually died. That number far exceeds earlier disasters such as the 100 children killed in the United States by an elixir of sulfanilamide in the 1930s and the 5000 to 10,000 children born in the 1960s with birth defects related to thalidomide. Both events led to sweeping regulatory changes in the United States.

So what does Dr. Graham get for blowing the whistle? He's going to be exiled from work reviewing drugs and put to work in the office of the commissioner,

Dr. Graham also is a father to six children, assistant scoutmaster and a wiry long-distance runner turned backpacker who, when flummoxed, begins sentences with an "Oh, golly." He is no slacker as he was educated at one of the leading medical schools in the world, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and also at Yale and the University of Pennsylvania.

This is a man of conviction and he will likely be one of the single leading forces for making a dent in this fatally flawed paradigm. Perhaps I am biased because he is a fellow runner, but I LOVE this guy and hope I will be able to meet him some day.

USA Today November 25, 2004

British Medical Journal November 27, 2004

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