Rita Rubin Wrong Again

  • by: |
  • 06/12/2007
I am trying to be nice... A kinder, gentler post that doesn't take media bias and laziness personally, that doesn't degenerate into childish namecalling...

Oh, screw it.

Rita Rubin's latest assault on the current PDUFA bill gets it exactly wrong.

"The FDA has essentially become the government affairs office of the pharmaceutical industry," Hinchey said in a statement, which called the relationship between the agency and industry "far too cozy and inappropriate." Hinchey is the author, and Bart Stupak, D-Mich., the chief co-sponsor of an FDA reform bill that would prohibit the agency from collecting fees from the companies it regulates. Instead, the money would be deposited into the general fund of the U.S. Treasury.

According to the Appropriations Committee, two officials of the Biotechnology Industry Organization and two officials of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association attended at least half of the 112 meetings."

Hey Rita, what's the punchline? So what? Did you ask how many times Hinchey and Stupak met with the lobbyists of organizations that are looking for earmarks from the Appropriations committee? Why don't Hinchey and Stupak post those numbers?

Now, unlike the done in the dark earmarking orgy, companies and the FDA are legally required to meet as part of the PDUFA reauthorization. But of course, the implication is that the companies run the show. Now if that were the case, if PDUFA were just a way to bend the drug approval process to the companies need, why have the percentage of drugs getting from Phase 1 to Phase 3 actually declined since PDUFA was implemented. Are companies deliberately conspiring with the FDA to take over the agency just to flush as much cash down the toilet as possible. Way to think through the logic, Rita!!!

Now extending that logic, should company representatives not meet with the FDA to discuss design of clinical trials, to explain endpoints, cooperate in sharing data to improve safety, design those safety trials the critics drool over while ignoring the need for new medicines?

I am one of those who actually agree that PDUFA has outlived its usefulness as a funding mechanism. It is too inflexible and keyed to one part of the drug development process. And it has not -- as I noted earlier -- done much to improve the efficiency of overall drug development (and that includes the efficiency of PM surveillance.) But don't believe - as the critics do -- that it has compromised safety. That is a silly and unscientific assertion.

I feel better now.

For the entire article go to: http://www.usatoday.com/news/health/2007-06-11-fda-drugmakers_N.htm

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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