Thursday, November 18, 2004

Lab Rats

The best way to test a drug is to make sure a lot of unsuspecting "people" ingest it, and loot them while you do. At least, that's the FDA's theory:
In the past four years, the Food and Drug Administration has taken a noticeably less aggressive approach toward policing drugs that cause harmful side effects, records show, leading some lawmakers, academics and consumer advocates to complain that the agency is focusing more on bolstering the pharmaceutical industry than protecting public health.
We're, of course, shocked that the Bush administration's primary aim at the FDA is to bolster the profits of pharmaceutical companies. It's not as if that were a pattern, or anything:
WASHINGTON — An emerging prescription drug benefit for retirees represents a victory for drug companies and their lobbyists, who have spent heavily to keep Republicans in control of Congress.
But pharmaceutical-makers already have averted what they feared most: a single new bloc of 40 million consumers with the market power to dramatically drive down prescription prices — and industry profits. Both the House and Senate versions of the bill bar the government from getting involved in price negotiations.
At least the faith-based government is resolute in the face of contrary facts:
The decrease in FDA enforcement has come despite a steadily rising number of reports of potentially harmful side effects from approved drugs. From 1996 to 2004, the annual number of these "adverse events" almost doubled.
Fox, meet the Republican-controlled henhouse:
Concerns about the FDA's safety monitoring have been growing ever since Congress required in 1992 that the industry assume a significant share of the costs of evaluating new drugs. These "user fees" now pay for more than half of CDER's annual budget of almost $500 million, and the percentage is growing steadily.
The perception that the FDA has tilted from its public health mandate toward a focus on industry needs has been reinforced for some in Congress by court cases in which the agency intervened on the side of drug and medical device makers sued by patients claiming they were harmed.
Government aligning with business interests against the people? Where have we heard that idea before?
As the 1983 American Heritage Dictionary noted, fascism is: "A system of government that exercises a dictatorship of the extreme right, typically through the merging of state and business leadership, together with belligerent nationalism."
Camo Day, anyone?


Anonymous Anonymous said...


Vioxx, and the complete lack of oversight in that case--literally, we were all used as lab rats--is a fine case in point. But did you hear All Things Considered yesterday? Here is a case away from which federal and local regulators cannot run fast enough:



10:53 AM  

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