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Does Revolving Door Between FDA and Big Pharma Harm Patients?

A new study highlights that U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) officials tasked with approving new drugs often move on to work in the pharmaceutical industry. The so-called “revolving door” raises concerns about patient safety.

The researchers examined the FDA hematology-oncology drug approvals listed on the agency’s website to identify 55 unique medical reviewers from 2001 to 2010. They then searched publicly available information from the Department of Health and Human Services, LinkedIn, and PubMed to ascertain their subsequent jobs.

The results, which were published in the British Medical Journal, confirmed that the revolving door may be busier than many suspected. Of the 26 reviewers who left the FDA, more than half (57.7 percent) later worked for the biopharmaceutical industry or consulted to it. Overall, approximately 27 percent of the total number of reviewers left their regulatory posts to work for the industry that they were previously tasked with overseeing.

Given that drug reviewers play an essential role in protecting patients from ineffective and harmful drugs, the results are concerning.

“If you know in the back of your mind that your career goal may be to someday work on the other side of the table, I wonder whether that changes the way you regulate,” Dr. Vinay Prasad, the study’s lead researcher, stated. “Are you more likely to give [companies] the benefit of the doubt? Are you less likely to beat them up hard over [using bad comparisons in drug studies]?”

If you or someone you care about has suffered serious harm due to a dangerous or defective drug or medical device, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego injury lawyer at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation. Our legal team has successfully represented clients against manufacturers and distributors of medical devices for more than 30 years.