FDA Advisors Tied to Pharmaceutical Industry

November 1, 2000

1 Min Read
FDA Advisors Tied to Pharmaceutical Industry

FDA Advisors Tied to Pharmaceutical Industry

WASHINGTON--A study conducted by USA TODAY found that more than halfthe "experts" hired to advise the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)on the safety and effectiveness of medicines have financial ties to thepharmaceutical companies that will be impacted by those decisions.

USA TODAY's Dennis Cauchon reported in late September that while theexperts are supposed to be independent, 54 percent of the time, they have adirect financial interest in the drug or topic that they are asked to evaluate.The conflicts of interest include items such as stock ownership, consulting feesor research grants. While federal law prohibits FDA from using experts with suchconflicts, FDA has waived the restriction more than 800 times since 1998, USAToday found.

In the paper's analysis of financial conflicts, during 159 FDA advisorycommittee meetings between Jan. 1, 1998, and June 30, 2000, at least one memberhad a financial conflict at 92 percent of committee meetings, and at 55 percentof meetings, half or more of the FDA advisors had conflicts of interest.

"The best experts for the FDA are often the best experts to consult withindustry," Linda Suydam, FDA senior associate commissioner, told USATODAY; Suydam is in charge of waiving conflict-of-interest restrictions. Fora copy of this study, visit www.usatoday.com/news/washdc/ncssun06.htm.

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