FDA/CDC: Agencies’ Conflict of Interest Rules Under Fire
Citing potential conflicts of interest with the pharmaceutical industry, the House Government Reform Committee Wednesday urged the FDA and CDC to revise the process the agencies use to review and approve drugs, the Newark Star-Ledger reports. In a 46-page report, the House committee found that FDA and CDC advisory committee members "with substantial ties to vaccine manufacturers are routinely given waivers to participate in committee proceedings." The FDA panels vote to recommend whether a drug should receive approval, while CDC committees issue guidelines for treatment. The report also found that the agencies had been "lax" in enforcing their already "weak and inconsistent" conflict of interest rules. The report was based on an investigation of the controversial vaccine Rotashield, which was recalled last year after it was associated with serious bowel problems in more than 100 infants. According to the committee, three of five full-time FDA advisory panel members who voted to recommend the vaccine's approval had financial ties to Rotashield manufacturer American Home Products Corp., or two companies developing rival vaccines -- Merck & Co. and SmithKline Beecham PLC. In addition, four of eight CDC panel members who supported the vaccine had conflicts with the same drug companies (Silverman, 8/24).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.