Financial Ties Between FDA Advisory Committee Members and Companies Not Always Disclosed, The Wall Street Journal Reports
An analysis by The Wall Street Journal shows that the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not always disclose financial ties between members of its medical device advisory committee and the companies that manufacturer medical devices. In particular, the WSJ analysis found that “a third of advisers on the FDA’s cardiology, orthopedics and gynecology device committees from 2012 through 2014 received something of value from device companies.” For the full WSJ article, click here.
An FDA advisory committee is a panel of independent physicians and scientists who meet to provide the FDA with recommendations relating to the approval or regulation of medical devices or prescription medications. Although the FDA is not mandated to follow the recommendations of the advisory committee, the FDA often does the majority of the time.
The issue is that many members of these FDA advisory committees have financial ties (i.e., research grants, consulting payments) to medical device companies that the FDA does not publicly disclose. According to critics, these undisclosed ties raise issues with the public as it relates to the confidence of the committee’s recommendations. The WSJ reports that there is no evidence that advisory committee members are hiding their financial ties from the FDA. According to doctors, they disclose all of their financial relationships with companies and the FDA decides when a conflict exists. The FDA discloses financial ties involving committee members only when they require a special waiver for current relationships doctors and scientists have with medical device companies. The FDA says that “[p]ast financial relationships and those related to products other than what is the focus of the panel are considered confidential.”
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