The FDA reauthorization bill that recently came to a vote in Congress, allows continuation of conflicts of interest between FDA advisors and the drug industry.
Under this bill the FDA can continue to allow advisors with financial interests in pharmaceutical companies to serve on FDA advisory committees. The bill also continues to let the FDA receive over 50% of its budget from fees paid to it by the pharmaceutical companies it regulates. This has resulted in the FDA becoming beholden to pharmaceutical companies.
Rep. Peter DeFazio of Oregon, pointed out that when it came time to renegotiate PDUFA, the FDA met with pharmaceutical companies 112 times to negotiate agency standards the FDA must achieve in order to receive these fees, while consumer advocates and doctors groups only got to meet with them five times.
The problems with unsafe drugs being recalled after harming and killing some patients and various food products being recalled after sickening and killing consumers has highlighted the problems at the FDA.
With respect to drug company oversight, one way to lessen the grip pharmaceutical companies have is to inform consumers when their health care provider may have a conflict of interest due to gifts or income from a drug company. That's why DeFazio reintroduced the Drug Company Gift Disclosure Act, which will require prescription drug manufacturers, packers, and distributors to report annually to the Commissioner of Food and Drugs any gifts with a value of $50 dollars or more provided to doctors and other health care providers in connection with their marketing activities.
It’s time the public knew the truth. Safety and efficacy should be the priority, not drug or food industry profits. Think it’s time for you to get involved?
Let your Representative in Congress know how you feel.