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August 3, 2007

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House Moves to End Financial Conflicts of Interest at FDA

Statement of CSPI Executive Director Michael F. Jacobson

Three cheers to the House of Representatives for voting to stop the FDA from allowing scientists with ties to drug companies to vote on FDA advisory committees. For far too long the FDA has waived its own conflict-of-interest rules and let scientists sit in judgment of products made by companies that have funded those scientists' work. That practice has cast a cloud over FDA decisions on Vioxx and other drugs.

Notably, the appropriations bill passed last night eliminates these waivers altogether, instead of limiting them to one voting member per meeting, as the House version of the FDA reform bill did. We hope that when the Senate takes up appropriations for the FDA it adopts the same strict language adopted today by the House. That would be a small but essential step toward restoring Americans' confidence in the safety of their drugs and medical devices.