According to OMB Watch, it's been an up and down week at the FDA when it comes to reining in pharma influence:
Efforts to free the Food and Drug Administration from the pharmaceutical
industry's excessive influence seesawed between success and failure in the same week, as the House voted to ban drug company scientists from FDA advisory committees while an agency whistleblower revealed that a new drug safety board has been tilted in favor of the drug companies.
I take it as a positive sign that they're at least trying to address the issue of industry influence and the potential for bias. But, obviously, even the FDA has a long way to go. It's funny (peculiar, not ha ha) that just yesterday I spent hours on the phone talking with several people about the potential for pharma-induced bias in the research and data that evidence-based medicine relies on. When I mentioned the trend toward offshoring clinical trials to Asia because of the lowered costs of doing business there and how that might impact the data's usefulness for U.S. docs dealing with U.S. patients, one person said that we didn't have to worry about that since the FDA was watchdogging all that.
Uh huh. This job is turning me, the original polyanna, into a serious cynic.