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FDA Reviewers Have Conflict of Interest

August 02, 2004

The Times editorial "An FDA Tightrope Act" (July 28) states that "the FDA represents society's best effort to set an appropriate standard." The editorial fails to mention the problem with the FDA drug and device approval process that The Times itself has frequently pointed out. For years, The Times has published articles stating that many of the doctors and other reviewers employed by the FDA are also in the pay of the pharmaceutical and device manufacturer industries.

As a practicing physician, I'm troubled by the fact that many of the people who are charged with regulating and reviewing drugs and devices have a potential conflict of interest because they are also paid for their services by the very industry they are regulating. I'd be more comfortable if I knew that the products I prescribe for my patients had been evaluated by experts who were not also being paid by the industry that manufactured them.

Melvin H. Kirschner MD

Van Nuys

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