Amendment Would Require Conflict-of-Interest Disclosure for FDA Advisory Committees
The Senate on Tuesday unanimously passed an amendment to the fiscal year 2006 Agriculture appropriations bill (HR 2744) that would require members of FDA advisory committees to disclose publicly 15 days before meetings any conflicts of interests for which members had to obtain waivers to allow them to participate, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Currently, the public can only obtain the identities of advisory committee members who receive such waivers -- such as scientists who have previously worked for pharmaceutical companies -- through a Freedom of Information Act request. The amendment, introduced by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.), also has the support of Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee Chair Michael Enzi (R-Wyo.).
An FDA official said that the experts the agency seeks to serve on advisory committees often have previously worked for pharmaceutical companies. In addition, he said that FDA is "looking at some significant steps to improve the disclosure" of such ties (Wall Street Journal, 9/21).