Back Page: Vioxx Populi - Pharmaceutical Executive

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Back Page: Vioxx Populi


Pharmaceutical Executive


Could FDA do a better job on drug safety? Of course. The goals are to always make things better, to move forward, to find new and innovative ways to advance the public health. But that would take more money and more authority—both of which must come from Congressional legislation, and neither of which is pending.

The real problem is that industry and FDA have done such a terrific job ensuring that drugs are safe and effective that the American public views "safe" as meaning "100 percent safe." It's certainly flattering, but it will forever be a path rather than a destination. For those calling on FDA to do a "better" job, four words: show me the money.

Department of Nostalgia "You can be too safe. Overcaution can be just as deadly as undercaution. It's just that victims of overcaution tend to be invisible. . . . Overcaution is the FDA's politically preferred error." —Walter E. Williams in Consumer Comments, Jan.-Feb. 1995

Peter J. Pitts is senior fellow, healthcare studies, at the Pacific Research Institute and senior VP, health affairs, at Manning, Selvage & Lee.


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