Disease Proof

No More Hijacking of the FDA?

You only have to look at the American political landscape to see that money talks—grease the right wheels and anything’s possible. Same goes for the Food and Drug Administration. Why do I say that? Well, why else would this happen?

Gardiner Harris of The New York Times reports that under a new mandate advisors to the government that receive cash from drug and device makers would be disallowed from voting on the approval of that company’s products. More from the article:
Indeed, such doctors who receive more than $50,000 from a company or a competitor whose product is being discussed would no longer be allowed to serve on the committees, though those who receive less than that amount in the prior year can join a committee and participate in its discussions.

A “significant number” of the agency’s present advisers would be affected by the new policy, said the F.D.A. acting deputy commissioner, Randall W. Lutter, though he would not say how many. The rules are among the first major changes made by Dr. Andrew C. von Eschenbach since he was confirmed as commissioner of food and drugs late last year.

Advisory boards recommend drugs for approval and, in rare cases, removal, and their votes can have enormous influence on drug company fortunes.

“The $50,000 threshold is something that we think strikes an appropriate balance between” getting smart advisers and reassuring the public that their advice is not tainted, Dr. Lutter said.
Okay, it’s a start, but, I’m very suspicious of the $50,000 threshold. It seems like they’re saying it’s alright to be just a little corrupt. What do you think?
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