The Food and Drug Administration is at it again. It has recently
become dependent on the multi-billion-dollar drug industry that
it's supposed to be policing.
With virtually no public debate, Congress has passed a law that
dramatically increases the FDA's dependence on large drug
companies for its funding. It's an expansion of a law passed
in 1992 intended to speed up the approval process for new
But this time the emergency was of a different sort. The FDA
was running out of money to keep its new employees. Going
before Congress and asking for more money amidst a war on
terrorism was going to be a tough fight. And the drug companies
offered an easier solution.
Negotiate a deal in secret; attach it to the widely popular
bioterrorism bill, and the drug companies would pay for the FDA's
new employees and more.
The FDA and the drug companies are getting awfully cozy...
The details of discussions leading to this "solution" were never
made public. According to a recent article in the Washington Post,
the program was created in private meetings between the industry
and the FDA. It was never debated or voted on in either chamber
before going to the negotiators. And it's moving forward before a
General Accounting Office review of the current program can be
finished and made public.
According to the Washington Post, the user fees from pharmaceutical
and biotechnology companies would add almost 500 employees to the
FDA centers that review proposed new drugs. That would bring the FDA
workforce funded by the drug industry to at least 1530. And that would
constitute more than 55 percent of the FDA staff involved in reviewing
"What was the price of the FDA sellout?
$1.2 billion over the next five years.
The report that's due from the GAO is supposed to tell us how well the
public has faired under the current smaller program of drug company
support for the FDA's drug approval process. But the truth probably
won't come out:
Over the last 10 years, the FDA has approved nine drugs that proved
to have deadly side effects.
The Journal of the American Medical Association estimates that 125,000
Americans die each year from the side effects of FDA approved drugs.
The FDA approved the sale of Baycol (later found to cause fatal
rhabdomyolysis) and continues to approve the use of other "statin drugs"
to lower cholesterol that are also associated with this deadly side effect.
Beefed up by drug company funds, the FDA has aggressively suppressed
natural alternatives to drugs. Red yeast rice, for example, known to be
a safe and effective alternative to cholesterol-lowering drugs, was banned
by the FDA in 2001.
The next time you are offered a drug, ask questions.
Why do I have to take it? If I take it, what's the plan to get me back off
of it? Are there alternatives? What are the side effects? How can I get
more information? What Natural treatments are available without side effects
that are often accompanying with the use of prescription drugs?
Most importantly, keep yourself healthy. If you need help to get back to
good health, choose as natural a therapy as possible. You will be less
vulnerable to these dangerous products of a questionable approval process
and drugs should be a last resort......not the first.