Health — 19 October 2013

By Pat Anson, Editor

A U.S. Senator has accused the Food and Drug Administration of having an “improper relationship” with the pharmaceutical industry and has called for a congressional investigation of fees charged to drug makers to attend agency meetings.

The Washington Post reported last week that companies paid as much as $25,000 to attend meetings of the Initiative on Methods, Measurement and Pain Assessment in Clinical Trials (IMMPACT), a quasi-government panel set up by two academics to give advice to the FDA on clinical drug trials, many of them involving prescription painkillers. The group was organized by two medical professors, Robert Dworkin of the University of Rochester and Dennis Turk of the University of Washington.

“These allegations clearly demonstrate a conflict of interest by allowing pharmaceutical companies to have undue influence over the FDA’s decision making process,” wrote Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, in a letter to FDA commissioner Margaret Hamburg.

“These recent reports raise serious doubts about the FDA’s ability to make objective and scientifically based decisions regarding the proper treatment of prescription painkillers.  Even worse, when challenged by another federal agency, the National Institutes of Health, on the stigma of this ‘pay to play process,’ the FDA balked and continued with the arrangement.”

Read more at National Pain Report.

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About Author

Pat Anson, Editor

Pat is Editor in Chief of American News Report. He is a veteran journalist and a former correspondent and producer for HealthWeek (PBS), Nightly Business Report (PBS) and other nationally syndicated shows. Pat has won numerous journalism awards, including a Golden Mike award for investigative reporting.

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