Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Article in the Washington Post -- FDA Revamps Process for Safety of Drugs After Approval, by Shankar Vedantam:
The Food and Drug Administration said yesterday that it is making changes in the way it operates to prevent the kind of drug safety controversies that have dogged the agency in recent years.
Officials outlined plans to better monitor safety problems after drugs are approved and to make internal changes to increase the profile of agency scientists who raise red flags about drugs. The steps were announced in response to a report last year by the congressionally chartered Institute of Medicine (IOM) that called for an overhaul of the FDA's culture and structure following safety controversies over drugs such as the painkiller Vioxx.
Officials said the steps will restore the trust and confidence of Congress and the public. They also pledged a renewed commitment to good science as the best way to counter critics who say the agency is too cozy with drug companies.
"We will fight back against those perceptions and that cynicism," said Steven Galson, head of the agency's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, the division that evaluates new drugs and that has been at the center of the maelstrom.
A member of the Institute of Medicine panel said the FDA had taken steps in the right direction but had fallen short.