December 20, 2000 |
For most of its history, the United States Food and Drug Administration approved new prescription medicines at a grudging pace, paying daily homage to the physician's creed, "First, do no harm." Then in the early 1990s, the demand for AIDS drugs changed the political climate. Congress told the FDA to work closely with pharmaceutical firms in getting new medicines to market more swiftly. President Clinton urged FDA leaders to trust industry as "partners, not adversaries."