Why Does the FDA's Drug Oversight Board Meet Behind Closed Doors?

I've told you about the FDA's more recent and feeble attempts to remove unsafe prescription drugs from the market, including its own Drug Safety Oversight Board. Last summer, Dr. David Graham and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) spoke out against the panel, saying it would do nothing more than reinforce the status quo that's harmed and killed Americans, and all to protect the fiscal health of their real clients, the mega-pharmaceutical companies.

Some of those same concerns are being voiced again and much more loudly than before by others, even its own external advisory board chairman. The big problem: The board discusses hot-button problems privately and merely issues brief public summaries afterward. Of course, the FDA justifies all the secrecy because it claims to discuss confidential company information.

And, what about representatives outside the FDA being selected to the board? Officials claim doing so would require extra time to screen potential candidates for conflicts of interest -- a familiar subject to many FDA staffers -- that could delay action on important issues.

Folks, don't expect the FDA to protect your health by using shams like an oversight board. Your best and only option is to take responsibility for your own health, and you have plenty of free tools here on my Web site to get started.

The Kindred Times February 13, 2006

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