Thursday, September 22, 2005

Legislative Actions About FDA Advisors' Conflicts of Interest

The chair and members of the Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions Committee have requested a Government Accountability Office investigation of how the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has chosen members of its advisory committtees, the Washington Post reported. Current law requires that the FDA select committee members with no conflicts of interest, but allows the agency to waive the requirement for people whose expertise outweighs the conflict. We have previously posted about how the FDA often seems to appoint advisory committees whose members have multiple conflicts of interest.
Almost simultaneously, the Senate also passed an amendment that would require the FDA to publicly disclose conflicts of committee members who receive waivers, according to Reuters.
As we have said before, having people with financial ties to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, or device companies helping the government make decisions that affect those companies raise questions about whether these decisions serve the public or the companies' interests.

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