U.S. Senator Says FDA Too Cozy With Drugmakers It Regulates 
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 U.S. Senator Says FDA Too Cozy With Drugmakers It Regulates

Reuters Health

U.S. Senator Says FDA Too Cozy With Drugmakers It Regulates

By Julie Rovner

WASHINGTON (Reuters Health) Mar 10 - The U.S. cooking.net">food and Drug
has grown too close to the drug companies it regulates, raising
about whether its acting director should be given a permanent job, a
Republican Senator said Thursday.

In disputes last year involving the use of antidepressants by {*filter*}agers
the withdrawal of the popular painkiller Vioxx, said Sen. Charles
R-Iowa, "the agency charged with protecting the public from unsafe
prescription {*filter*} was too cozy with the drug companies."

The problems at FDA come at a time when "some drug companies are
greed ahead of drug safety," Grassley said. In a speech to the Consumer
Federation of America, he cited Justice Department statistics that
are currently under seal in the neighborhood of 100 whistleblower cases
involving allegations against over 200 drug companies."

In the Vioxx case in particular, Grassley said, "the FDA allowed itself
be manipulated by Merck," the drug's maker.

Grassley said that while he is convinced that FDA Acting Commissioner
Crawford's "heart is in the right place," he noted that both
occurred "under his watch," and suggested that he will not be prepared
support Crawford's nomination to head the agency permanently "until he
answered some tough questions."

Grassley also said that the FDA has not yet responded to several
requests for documents, and that if Crawford cannot get his staff to
Congress's questions, it raises the question "is he the right man for

Grassley noted that he has already introduced legislation to make data
prescription drug clinical trials more widely available to the public
and to
doctors, and that he plans to introduce another bill "in the coming
days" to
establish an independent Office of Drug Safety within FDA that would
directly to the commissioner.

The problem with the current office, he said, is that it reports to the
Office of New {*filter*}, whose officials are unlikely to admit they might
made a mistake in approving a product. "If you want accountability, it
doesn't make sense to have the office that reviews the safety of {*filter*}
to be
under the thumb of the office that puts the {*filter*} on the market in the
place," Grassley said.

When the FDA approves a drug, he said, "consumers shouldn't have to
second-guess the safety of what's in their medicine cabinets."

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Thu, 27 Sep 2007 08:56:21 GMT
 [ 1 post ] 

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