Singulair Merck Co Inc, Government Reform Committee, Democratic Lawmaker, Henry Waxman, California Democrat
WASHINGTON, Sept 17 (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration appears to be giving priority to projects that benefit the pharmaceutical industry rather than helping consumers, a top Democratic lawmaker said on Wednesday. ... more »
WASHINGTON, Sept 17 (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration appears to be giving priority to projects that benefit the pharmaceutical industry rather than helping consumers, a top Democratic lawmaker said on Wednesday.
The head of the U.S. House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee questioned how the FDA set its priorities given recent controversies over its handling of safety issues, including tracking tainted foods and inspecting drug manufacturers.
A 2007 list of top projects includes plans to offer advice to companies on promoting products, as well as guidance on offering reprints of journal articles to physicians, California Democrat Henry Waxman said in a letter to FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach.
The agency also planned to change its regulations to protect device makers from lawsuits as long as their products are FDA-approved with a so-called preemption clause.
"All appear to prioritize industry desires over consumer protection," Waxman wrote.
The FDA has come under fire in recent years following a string of highly-publicized safety scares, starting with the 2004 withdrawal of Merck & Co Inc's (MRK.N: Quote, Profile, Research, Stock Buzz) painkiller Vioxx following heart problems.
The risk of suicide with antidepressants and other drugs, as well as tainted batches of blood-thinner heparin and bacteria-laced produce such as spinach and hot peppers have also fueled concerns.
Asked if it had any response, FDA spokeswoman Heidi Rebello said the agency would comment directly to Waxman
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