Provision Seeks To End Conflicts on FDA Panels
A provision included in the fiscal year 2008 Agricultural appropriations bill (HR 3161) passed last week by the House would require FDA to eliminate all conflicts of interest on its advisory committees, the Boston Globe reports.
According to the Globe, the provision, proposed by Rep. Maurice Hinchey (D-N.Y.), "faces a tough fight" in the Senate. Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and others maintain that such a provision would reduce the quality of medical experts who serve on advisory committees.
However, "congressional chatter" about the provision "might trigger the FDA to act forcefully on its own" to address the issue, the Globe reports (Henderson, Boston Globe, 8/7).
FDA in March announced a proposed rule under which medical experts with more than a $50,000 financial interest in pharmaceutical companies could not serve on advisory committees that review their products or the products of their competitors.
Under the rule, medical experts with less than a $50,000 financial interest could participate in discussions by advisory committees but could not vote on whether to recommend products. The $50,000 limit would include stock and consulting arrangements (California Healthline, 3/22). FDA has not issued a final rule (Boston Globe, 8/7).