FDA has bigger problems than conflicts of interest
re "F.D.A. Rule Limits Role of Advisers Tied to Industry", NY Times, 3/22/07
To the Editor:
Removing FDA advisers who are paid substantial amounts by companies or their competitors from ruling on those companies’ drugs or devices may strike a blow against conflicts of interest. But it may also strike a blow against the interests of all Americans.
The FDA is remarkably, outrageously, and dangerously conservative in their approval of new drugs, often leaving patients in pain or dead rather than let them try something which might work, even if not yet proven. The FDA should lean more toward allowing experimental drugs as long as the risks do not seem greater and more likely than the potential benefits, and as long as those risks are fully explained.
Given how difficult it has been in recent years for drugs to get approved even with the participation of people who might have had a extra financial motivation in their decisions, it will be even worse with those people removed. I’m all for removing conflicts of interest, but the FDA’s obvious fear of lawyers and low regard for the intelligence of American patients and doctors is a much bigger problem.
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