Top U.S. lawmakers at a recent hearing criticized
the FDA for drug safety problems.
(NewsTarget March 16, 2007) Recently
Congress held a hearing focused on the FDA's
handling of a Sanofi-Aventis antibiotic, called Ketek, and several
prescription anti-depressants. Problems with these drugs, and also
Merck's now-withdrawn Vioxx, were cited.
The hearing included accusations that the FDA stifled scientific
dissent regarding the safety of these drugs. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Mich.,
the chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations for
the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, questioned whether the
FDA is working for the American
"With each of these drugs, it appears that the FDA is not
seriously questioning whether the risks outweigh the benefits of the
new drug," Stupak said at the hearing. "One must ask, if
the FDA is not protecting its client, the American people, whose
interest is being protected?"
The hearing included a whistleblower from inside the FDA who said
the agency has not improved its ability to protect patients from
harmful drugs like Vioxx.
David Graham, an associate director in the FDA office that monitors
how drugs on the market interact with patients, previously spoke in
2004 to Congress regarding the FDA.
"There is no longer any question whatsoever that the FDA acts
primarily to protect the financial interests of pharmaceutical
companies at the expense of public health," said consumer
health advocate Mike Adams, author of a book blasting the FDA,
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said at the hearing that the FDA is
not friendly to hearing problems with drugs, stating that within the
agency "scientific dissent is discouraged, quashed and
On Monday, the FDA withdrew its approval for two of the three uses
for Ketek -
treatment of sinusitis and bronchitis - after reports of severe
liver damage among patients started to surface last year. It still
is approved for pneumonia. Ketek was approved by the FDA in April
Vioxx, approved in 1998, was voluntarily withdrawn by Merck
in 2004 due to concerns about an increased risk of heart attack and
stroke associated with long-term, high-dosage use.
In addition to charging that the FDA works in favor of Big Pharma
instead of the American citizenry, Adams said that the FDA has taken
actions that cripple the advances of natural
"They've raided vitamin shops with armed agents, terrorized a
church that was helping people deal with mental health challenges,
ordered the destruction of recipe books promoting a natural herbal
sweetener, confiscated tens of millions of dollars in nutritional
supplements, stifled scientific scrutiny within their own ranks,
supplement companies and essentially have engaged in a war of
medical tyranny against the alternative health community,"
Article by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger,
How Independent is the FDA? - How is the pharmaceutical
industry making its inroads into the FDA? Where is it exerting its
influence? - Frontline at PBS|