Corporate influence in the FDA approval process has scientists worried.
A survey by the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) highlights worries that the FDA is too influenced by business. While the 2011 survey did indicate that leaders at the agency were attempting to boost the scientific integrity at the FDA, the influence of special interests is still preventing the FDA from exercising all of the best resources it has to protect the public health, according to a press release by the UCS.
The UCS put out a 33 question survey to 997 scientists at the FDA. It was similar to a survey put out in 2006. Compared to the 2006 results, scientists at the FDA did seem to indicate that they believe that scientific integrity had been restored to some extent. Tellingly, 25 percent more of the scientists surveyed said that the FDA is acting effectively to protect public health, according to the group’s website.
According to the survey, however, the FDA is still a place where scientists have issues with the influence of corporate and political forces. The agency’s transparency and accountability were also areas of concern for the scientists.
Overall, communication, science-based decision-making and corporate and political influence are all concerns for the scientists working at the FDA. In fact, one scientist is quoted on the website as responding that “Over my 40 years at the FDA, science has been taking a greater and greater back seat to politics.”.
The FDA is responsible for providing for the health and safety of the public and, notably, is responsible for testing pharmaceuticals for safety. Over the past decades, stories about recalled pharmaceutical drugs have become very common and, in some cases, the reasons that those drugs were recalled were downright frightening. Sometimes, there have been implications of corporate corruption involved in the recalls and meddling political influence defeating the input of scientists.
Some pharmaceuticals should’ve never gotten onto the market, which is why it’s so important that the FDA functions as intended. In instances where corporate influence is too great or political influence is too strong, drugs may end up on the market that are not fully tested and, because of that, they may end up causing many injuries or deaths. If you were injured or lost a family member to a pharmaceutical that proved to be dangerous, consider contacting a product liability attorney. When the FDA fails in its duties, product liability attorneys represent those who have been injured as a result.