FDA is Pharma’s Lapdog

Few Americans really know the details of what the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are, even though they have heard of the FDA. I quote what they actually are to do, “FDA is responsible for protecting the public health by assuming the safety, efficacy and security of human and veterinary drugs, biological products, medical devices, our nation’s food supply, cosmetics and products that emit radiation”. The truth is they favor said industry instead of looking out for the public with their close ties to industry. There was an investigation into the FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations (OCI) concerning their handling of food, drug and medical device cases.

The investigating committee is asking for answers such as why does the director of the FDA’s criminal office (based in Maryland) work out of a South Florida office near his home. This particular director was paid more than $25,000 to move to Maryland less than two years ago. They are also seeking statistics on OCI’s arrests, convictions, case initiations and money recovered. It has been found by a Reuter’s investigation that more than half of all OCI cases are closed with NO action taken.

Another thing they are asking for is clarification on how the FDA handled two critical reports that came from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and the Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (HHS OIG).

There is an embargo used in journalism between journalists and their sources that gives the journalist access to a story on the condition that it’s not published before a certain date and time. The FDA controls the media through the use of the close-hold embargo and the FDA gets them to report only what they tell them, without outside commentary or analysis.

The FDA breaks its own rules and continues to stifle journalistic freedom. Few news outlets have pushed against the FDA’s favoritism to certain media outlets or their restrictive rules regarding reporting. There is documentary evidence this is happening and each instance since 2011, is a violation of the FDA’s official media policy, which explicitely bans close-hold embargoes.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) should be cracking down on corporations promoting products linked to poor health and disease, but they appear to have taken at least one company under their protective wing.

The Federal regulations often tend to favor large corporations while bankrupting small business owners. The majority of Americans believe government regulations are needed to protect the public interest, but many overlook the fact that such regulations often boost businesses’ bottom line. The U.S. automotive safety regulations that boost sales for a manufacturer of seat belts and air bags, is an example. The industry sways regulations to meet their needs.

These regulations often harm small businesses, which lack the resources to keep up with regulatory changes while large corporations might be able to absorb such costs and the small companies go bankrupt. It’s a real shame when the agencies pretend to be guarding consumers, especially where drugs are concerned, but end up shielding industries from liabilities, carefully controlling media messages and creating barriers for entry to eliminate competition. They are doing more harm than good.

–Dr Fredda Branyon

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