Drug Researchers’ Pay Raises Questions

An investigation by Senator Chuck Grassley has revealed what many have suspected for quite some time, researchers who are funded by pharmaceutical companies often under report or don’t report at all income derived from their work for these very same pharmaceutical companies. The potential for conflicts of interest are obvious when scientists are paid by those who have real pecuniary interests in the outcome of the research. This was not the case two or three decades ago when the federal government financed most of the drug and medical device research. Now that the pharmaceutical companies and medical device manufacturers are the main sources of such financing the reliability of such research is rightly called into question.
This coupled with the fact that FDA warning letters to medical device makers and drug manufacturers have declined by 50% in the last five years makes one wonder about consumer safety.
In another piece of disturbing news, seven doctors have been disqualified by the FDA from doing research. Their disqualifications stem from misconduct such as fraud and disregard for patient safety. The FDA relies on these doctors as they approve drugs and medical devices. The FDA has come under heavy criticism for taking so long to discipline these wayward doctors. In some instances, it tood a decade for them to be removed from their posts!