Drugwonks: Not the Aquateam Hungerforce

  • by: |
  • 02/01/2007
I have Peter's back when it comes to his post on Kenzi. I wrote a piece in the Washington Times supporting the beta version of the bill and I got nothing but flack by everyone for it. I supported the bill in it's nascent form because it understood that safety and efficacy were linked and that Critical Path was, well, critical to making medicines safer as opposed to requiring mindless chain of custody and post market data dredging for every drug.

The current form of the bill - the mutation is a better term -- presumes that the current drug development and evaluation process is just peachy, that are not millions of people dying of cancer, Alzheimer's, infectious disease, stroke and other illnesses because of lack of effective medicines, that we have somehow perfectly translated the insights about disease mechanisms and the genomes into personalized medicines.

Reading the current bill you would think that unsafe medicines are a major public health threat and are becoming even more so because of the way FDA approves and reviews drugs. The facts are that drug withdrawals are the same percentage of drug approvals today as they are now, that user fees are not associated with unsafe drugs and -- most important -- that most adverse events are due to poor prescribing practices and people not taking medicines as instructed.

Kenzi 1.0 and the IOM report put blind faith in administrative and regulatory solutions to make medicines safer, separate and apart from science-based effort to make medcines more effectice and more quickly available to sick and dying patients.

Peter and I hear from individuals all the time who are single parents with months to live who wonder why the FDA is moving faster. My mother spends her retirement caring for my aunt and two friends who have Alzheimer's. Kenzi is a cop-out. As Peter said, is it the opposite of political courage.

And those who complain that we should wait until the NEXT version of Kenzi should remember: we heard that one before and we told the people who depend on the FDA for faster cures the same thing.

As George Bush tried to say: Fool me once, shame on me. You are not going to fool me twice, only surprise me pleasantly.

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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