Subject: USA Today Charges FDA With Gross Conflict of Interest FDA Advisers Tied to Pharmaceutical Industry
From: "International Advocates for Health Freedom"
Date: Mon, 25 Sep 2000 14:19:14 -0400

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IAHF List: Check out the USA Today article below my comments! Now do you understand why we're seeing these desperate, baseless attacks on the dietary supplement industry and on the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994? The pharmaceutical industry and FDA are totally morally bankrupt and this article proves it. The USA Today Article listed at, the text of which can be read beneath my comments proves what I've been saying for years-that there is a revolving door between the FDA and the drug companies which they allegedly objectively investigate, (while simultaneously attacking far safer dietary supplements in an effort to help the drug companies whose stock they own, and who they get paid off by and sometimes go to work for.) As you can clearly see from the USA Today article below, more than half of the "independent advisors" who are hired by the FDA to make decisions about the safety and efficacy of prescription drugs own stock in or are otherwise financially compensated by the drug companies whose products they approve, and they often serve on FDA advisory committees, with the FDA waiving all concerns about conflict of interest.

Does this cause you to feel safe when you go to your doctor and get a prescription? Perhaps this is why people all over the world are abandoning mainstream medicine and instead turn to alternative physicians and personal wellness programs involving the use of vitamins which the FDA/Codex are trying so hard to suppress. Perhaps this is one of the many reasons why between 44,000 and 98,000 Americans die each year from medical errors and why the USA ranked an average of 12th (second from the bottom) for 16 health indicators, with Japan, Sweden, Canada, France, Australia, Spain, Finland, the Netherlands, the UK, Denmark, and Belgium all ranking higher than the USA for delivering better medical care. (source: Is US Health Care Really the Best in the World? by Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH JAMA July 26, 2000)

FDA advisers tied to industry

September 25, 2000 USA Today
By Dennis Cauchon, USA TODAY

More than half of the experts hired to advise the government on the safety and effectiveness of medicine have financial relationships with the pharmaceutical companies that will be helped or hurt by their decisions, a USA TODAY study found.

These experts are hired to advise the Food and Drug Administration on which medicines should be approved for sale, what the warning labels should say and how studies of drugs should be designed.

The experts are supposed to be independent, but USA TODAY found that 54% of the time, they have a direct financial interest in the drug or topic they are asked to evaluate. These conflicts include helping a pharmaceutical company develop a medicine, then serving on an FDA advisory committee that judges the drug.

The conflicts typically include stock ownership, consulting fees or research grants.

Federal law generally prohibits the FDA from using experts with financial conflicts of interest, but the FDA has waived the restriction more than 800 times since 1998.

These pharmaceutical experts, about 300 on 18 advisory committees, make decisions that affect the health of millions of Americans and billions of dollars in drugs sales. With few exceptions, the FDA follows the committees' advice.

The FDA reveals when financial conflicts exist, but it has kept details secret since 1992, so it is not possible to determine the amount of money or the drug company involved.

A USA TODAY analysis of financial conflicts at 159 FDA advisory committee meetings from Jan. 1, 1998, through last June 30 found:

At 92% of the meetings, at least one member had a financial conflict of interest.

At 55% of meetings, half or more of the FDA advisers had conflicts of interest.

Conflicts were most frequent at the 57 meetings when broader issues were discussed: 92% of members had conflicts.

At the 102 meetings dealing with the fate of a specific drug, 33% of the experts had a financial conflict.

"The best experts for the FDA are often the best experts to consult with industry," says FDA senior associate commissioner Linda Suydam, who is in charge of waiving conflict-of-interest restrictions.

But Larry Sasich of Public Citizen , an advocacy group, says, "The industry has more influence on the process than people realize."