By JOE NEWMAN
It's well known that Big Pharma and the Food and Drug Administration have a, um, complicated relationship. On one hand, the FDA regulates the pharmaceutical and medical device industries to keep unsafe drugs and devices off the market, while at the same time having to depend on hundreds of millions of dollars each year in user fees from the companies it regulates.
So, it's hardly a surprise that the agency has been riddled with one scandal after another involving conflicts of interest. Now comes the report that four members of an FDA joint committee that recently weighed the risks and benefits of the Yaz/Yasmin oral contraceptive had ties to Bayer (the drugmaker) or a related company. Be sure to read Adam Zagorin's story that raises questions about whether drug company influence might have put millions of women at risk.
We're Mad as Hell
Shining a light on these questionable situations is what our new campaign "Un-Do Influence" is all about. Our aim is to not only expose conflicts of interest, influence peddling and revolving door hires but to do something about it.