Tag Archives: Food and Drug Administration

Truth In Media: Big Pharma’s Influence Over The FDA

The Truth In Media Project has released the first segment of its latest Truth In Media episode: Big Pharma, The FDA & Health Propaganda. The first segment of this episode, Big Pharma’s Influence Over The FDA, examines how the pharmaceutical industry exerts heavy influence over the FDA as well as the media and the medical community.

In this segment, Ben discusses the multi-million dollar lawsuit launched earlier this year by eight plaintiffs against Johnson & Johnson, former FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg and her husband, Peter F. Brown. The plaintiffs claim that Hamburg was the “instrumentality” in covering up the harmful, and sometimes fatal, side effects of the once-popular blockbuster antibiotic Levaquin to maintain a high number of the drug’s sales, as well as to secure and protect private financial interests.

This segment also illustrates the consequences of demanding faster drug approval from the FDA. Doug Bremner, a physician and professor of Psychiatry at Emory University, tells Swann that Congress has reduced funding of the FDA’s budget while also ordering the agency to expedite its approval of drugs. “The number of people working on new drug approval has been increasing at the expense of those who are supposed to be watching drugs after they come out on the market,” says Bremner.

Swann also examines the problems that arise when FDA regulators, who are tasked with maintaining oversight of the pharmaceutical industry, are wooed by these companies. Laurie Powell, a former medical brand strategist, says that a career in the pharmaceutical industry is much more lucrative than a lower-paying government job, and that pharmaceutical companies regularly approach FDA regulators hoping to attract them to serve on the industries’ regulatory committees.

According to Powell, working for the FDA is sometimes merely a “jumping off point” for some employees before moving on to work in the pharmaceutical industry, which leads to the question: should FDA employees be able to work for the very industries they were once in charge of scrutinizing?

New Truth In Media Episodes: Confronting Big Pharma’s Manipulation, Influence

Many Americans have become increasingly aware that U.S. government agencies often fall short in providing transparency to its citizens, leading to failure in fulfilling their mission to adhere to policies for the protection of the American people.

Over the last few years, Truth In Media has discussed multiple instances in which agencies including the IRS, DEA, FBI, NSA, VA and others have been placed under public scrutiny in recent years for numerous cases of questionable conduct.

Many of these agencies, funded by taxpayer dollars, frequently claim to serve as a crucial safeguard, yet far too often they have been found to be serving outside interests at the expense of citizens.

When it comes to providing transparency and following proper procedure in protecting the health of the American people, where does the FDA stand? Has this agency maintained its integrity in maintaining oversight of drug companies? Is this agency doing its job to the best of its ability in assuring that our medicines have been rigorously tested, and is it making sure that drugs found to be dangerous are assigned proper warnings or removed from the market?

Truth In Media will be asking these questions in a brand new series: Truth In Media: Big Pharma, The FDA & Health Propaganda, seeking to provide a more thorough look into the relationships between FDA employees and the pharmaceutical industry, as well as the ways in which big pharma holds an enormous amount of influence over not only the FDA, but also physicians, medical journals, politicians, drug research, and ultimately millions of Americans.

This 4-segment series begins with Part 1 premiering in the first week of June. Stay tuned!

‘Right to Try’ bill in Oklahoma moves forward

Legislation has been approved by the Oklahoma House committee which would allow terminally ill patients to have access to experimental medications which are not yet available to the public.

Rep. Richard Morrissette (D) is the author of the Oklahoma version of the Right to Try bill. Morrissette has said, according to the AP, this bill can give new hope to terminally ill patients “that one of these experimental drugs will hit the mark.”

The House Public Health Committee voted 10-0 on Tuesday in favor of pushing the bill forward for consideration by the full House. A number of other states, such as Arizona, Colorado, and Louisiana already have similar bills in place.

The Daily Journal reports the U.S. Food and Drug Administration already allows terminally ill patients to seek to undergo experimental medications. However, it usually takes hundreds of hours to complete the paperwork and for the paperwork to make its way through the proper government channels before it is approved. Many terminally ill patients die while waiting to receive government approval to undergo these new medical treatments.

Christina Sandefur is an attorney for the Goldwater Institute, a conservative public policy group, and she said, “These are people whose days, hours, even minutes may be numbered.”

There would be some requirements when it comes to receiving the experimental medications even if the bill were to pass.

One requirement is a terminally ill patients doctor must approve of the usage of the medication before moving forward. The patient in question would also have to acknowledge the medication they would be receiving poses potential risks o their health and well-being. The company who develops the drug must also be willing to make the medication available to the patient.

The bill would also allow pharmaceutical companies to deploy experimental treatment devices in the same manner as the experimental medications.

The full bill can be read here.