Dubious FDA

Published: Thursday 30 June 2005

Do not pop this pill Medical Malpractice USA

The us Food and Drug Administration (fda) is "the single greatest obstacle to doing anything effective" about Vioxx, according to the agency's drug safety officer David Graham. He was speaking at an unprecedented roundtable of medical whistleblowers at Washington, usa. Merc and Co, the makers of Vioxx, shelved this drug in September 2005 after studies linked it to heart ailments. But this once-popular anti-arthritic drug has not been banned

Graham was among the five high-profile whistleblowers invited by journalist Jeanne Lenzer to share accounts of malpractices in medicine and medical research. "One of the lessons of the roundtable," says Lenzer, is that "ties between drug regulators and industry influences new drug approval". Graham's testimony supports her argument: "The fda gets money from drug companies to approve new drugs quickly." Kathleen Moschkau, a former drug representative, came up with another startling revelation. A movie, in fact: Side effects. A fictionalised account of her experiences, it shows how companies buy doctors's prescribing records so that drug representatives know what drugs doctors are prescribing and so tailor their marketing.

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