"Based on what you know or have heard ..."

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  • 05/24/2006

“Based on what you know or have heard …”

58% of people in a new Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive health-care poll (conducted online May 12-16) said that, “based on what you know or have heard,” the FDA does a fair or poor job ensuring the safety and efficacy of new prescription drugs, while 36% said the agency does a good or excellent job.

Based on what you know or have heard.

Two years ago, the numbers were reversed: then, 56% felt the FDA did a good or excellent job in the ensuring safety and efficacy of new prescription drugs, while 37% felt the agency did a fair or poor job in this regard.

Based on what you know or have heard.

Of 2,371 adults surveyed in the latest poll, 80% said they are somewhat or very concerned about the agency’s ability to make independent decisions that will ensure patients have access to safe and effective medicines.

Based on what you know or have heard.

The poll found that 82% feel the FDA’s decisions are influenced to some extent or a great extent by politics rather than medical science.

Based on what you know …

Most Americans don’t know the most basic things about what FDA is and what it does. And ignorance rarely evokes bliss. Most Americans think the FDA invents as well as regulates pharmaceuticals.

Or have heard …

What most Americans have heard over the past two years are false accusations, slanted half-truths, self-serving pronouncements, ad hominem attacks, vicious slander, and destructive score settling.

This is what some of our elected public officials hath wrought. And what have these same individuals done to improve matters?

(Pause for reflection)

I can’t think of anything either.

As George Bernard Shaw wrote,

“When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.”

For shame. And you know who you are.


Center for Medicine in the Public Interest is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization promoting innovative solutions that advance medical progress, reduce health disparities, extend life and make health care more affordable, preventive and patient-centered. CMPI also provides the public, policymakers and the media a reliable source of independent scientific analysis on issues ranging from personalized medicine, food and drug safety, health care reform and comparative effectiveness.

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