|Leading policy-makers and scholars explain how market forces, deregulation, and consumer choice can work to improve health care for all Americans.||
Herper argues that the furor over Avandia is only a foretaste of "open–source" drug safety, where clinical trial data is posted on the web for any would–be crusader to analyze and criticize, in short, an invitation for a lynching."
Everyone—lawyer, doctor, think–tanker—wants a piece of the drug safety debate. The catalyst now is a piece of legislation in Congress that, post–Avandia, will establish a potentially dramatic remaking of drug regulation. Before Avandia it seemed that the drug industry was going to get a bill it could live with. The FDA would get new powers and industry would make some concessions. A grand reform that would result in much tougher scrutiny for drugs would be averted.
The problem right now is that the FDA's credibility is at low–ebb. And this is not to say that drugs are any less safe than they were even a few years ago. But what has happened is that we have moved into a 24–hour media environment where scare sells and scientific discussion is pushed to the sidelines. Also, as medical science advances and more people find themselves taking medicines for chronic ailments, consumers are paying a lot more attention to headlines touting dangerous drug risks.
This is not to say that there aren't legitimate drug safety questions at stake surrounding Vioxx or Avandia, but that, in this environment, it very hard to ask the right questions that will improve public policy.
|home spotlight commentary research events news about contact links archives|