Proposed Law Bars Drug Ties To Federal Panels

After the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) uncovered evidence the FDA panel charged with deciding whether Vioxx and other COX-2 drugs should stay off or on the market was stacked with advisers with financial ties to the industry, I wondered if lawmakers would notice and do something to ensure it never happens again.

Surprise, surprise...

Yesterday Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.) has introduced the Food and Drug Administration Improvement Act of 2005 that would revolutionize the way the agency operates.

  • The FDA would be prohibited from collecting fees paid by companies it regulates. Instead, those funds would be deposited into the general fund of the Treasury.
  • All FDA advisory panels would be made up of qualified experts who have no financial ties to companies who have a stake in the issue or drug under discussion.
  • An independent Center for Post-Market Drug Safety and Effectiveness, which would monitor all approved drugs as well as all advertisements and promotions associated with those products, would be established.

Based on reading Rep. Hinchey's comments after introducing the bill, it made me wonder if he had been reading the uproar on my Web site. "For far too long the FDA has treated the pharmaceutical industry as a 'client' rather than as a regulated industry. It is time to stop letting the pharmaceutical industry dictate how the FDA does its job." It's about time!

Rep. Hinchey will need a lot of support to make any headway in Congress, however, considering how much influence the mega-pharmaceuticals have bought. Not so remarkable as you think, considering the drug industry employs almost 1,300 lobbyists, more than two for every member of Congress!

MidHudsonNews.com May 5, 2005

Center for Science in the Public Interest May 4, 2005

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