April 20th, 2004
To the Editor:
The list of potential purchases in the American marketplace, along with potential dangers accompanying their use, are limitless because the very nature of research has been altered. Objective inquiry has been replaced by market research. Manufacturers pay scientists to study multiple aspects of a consumer product in development. The results, now the property of the company, are sifted through to form an informational packet which omits decidedly negative findings in efficacy or safety and sends them on to regulatory agencies – our FDA and EPA.
These agencies do not conduct independent studies to confirm, deny or supplement company data. The FDA recently prohibited one of its own experts from commenting upon his concerns about the use of antidepressants for children. Since they cited the lack of availability of fuller data for his “premature” conclusions, why would the FDA grant approval for drugs on the basis of the same information already deemed insufficient?
Only when our regulatory agencies receive all available data on a product should a ruling of any type be given. Patents protect companies in preserving their investments in products. Furthermore, their expenses in “reinventing the wheel” in terms of conducting studies already performed by competitors drives up drug costs and delays scientific advancements in pharmaceutical science.
Categories: Washington Post