Wednesday, December 13, 2006

FDA SSRI Panel and Conflicts of Interest

According to Merrill Goozner, there are conflicts of interest on the FDA panel which will review the link between SSRIs and suicide. Andrew Leon is one member whose links to Big Pharma seem significant, yet FDA issued him a waiver so that he can stay on the panel. Bruce Pollock will not vote, but will be on the committee, and Goozner documents that he also has significant conflicts of interest. Even the consumer advocate is reported as having significant conflicts of interest (!) in terms of her holding stock in drug companies. Apparently the FDA could not locate a consumer advocate without a significant conflict of interest – this is well past strange. For the details, check out Goozner’s post. Give the highly controversial nature of the topic, one would think that the FDA would want the committee to appear as clean as possible. The conflicts of interest do not necessarily mean that the fix is in, but at the very least, it makes for very bad PR.

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