Senator renewed scrutiny of the pharmaceutical ties in federal panel

Jun 24, 2016 | | Say something

Senator renewed scrutiny of the pharmaceutical ties in federal panel ;

In Friday, September 25, 2015, file photo, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., speaks after a press conference in Portland, Oregon. Wyden is pushing for more answers about why doctors and patient advocates with financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry has come to serve on a panel that advises the federal government on issues of pain. (AP Photo / Don Ryan, File)

A senior Democratic Senate is pushing for more answers about why doctors and patient advocates with financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry became part a panel that advises the federal government on issues of pain.

Sen. Ron Wyden says he is “more concerned” about these apparent conflicts of interest after receiving a response from the National Institutes of Health, discussed and panel members were selected. In a letter sent Thursday to top health official Obama administration, Wyden asked a series of related panel pain, including financial disclosure forms completed by its members documents.

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees the NIH, said in a statement, “will be reviewing the letter and respond in a timely manner.”

The panel attracted attention late last year when several members bashed a federal plan to reduce doctors recommend prescription analgesics to treat chronic pain such as OxyContin and Percocet. The guidelines were finally published in March by the Centers for Disease Control and Disease Prevention, despite the objections of the panel.

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The Associated Press reported earlier this year that nearly half of non-federal panel members had apparent links with pharmaceutical companies or support groups receiving funds from drug manufacturers. The panel includes federal authorities and external physicians and patient representatives.

“I will continue to demand accountability to ensure that manufacturers of these powerful prescription drugs are not having an undue influence on policies designed to reduce their use,” Wyden said, that is the Democratic highest ranking in Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement.

Two panelists work for the Center for Practical Bioethics, a nonprofit organization Missouri, which receives funds from drugmakers, including OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, which donated $ 100,000 to the organization in 2013. One of the participants have a chair in the middle created by a donation of $ 1.5 million Purdue. The other has received more than $ 8.660 in fees, meals, lodging, travel and other payments from drug makers for pain, including Purdue talking, according to federal records.

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In total, the Center for Bioethics Practice says that drug and device companies have contributed about 5 percent of its funds in the last four years, although the center does not publish specific amounts of donation.

Wyden ongoing investigation comes as Congress tries to curb rising fatal overdose of painkillers, which rose to a record high of almost 19,000 in 2014, a fourfold increase since 2000.

“Given the public health epidemic rooted in addiction to prescription opioids, the current policy that governs these powerful drugs merit special attention, and now appears to be inadequate,” Wyden said in the letter.

In response to Wyden April 1, NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins said that “all members fully revealed” their income from pharmaceutical manufacturers, as needed. He also explained that the NIH took great care to ensure that the panel “is balanced in terms of the views and functions to perform.”

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However, the letter Wyden notes that the two panel members who worked for the Center for Practical Bioethics not refrain from participating in the discussion of the CDC guidelines, which could affect sales of drugmakers analgesics.

“In my opinion, this is indicative of a defective policy conflicts of interest,” said Wyden.

The Oregon Democrat is asking the Department of Health and Human Services to deliver the standards used to select panelists and explain how each panelist meet these standards. Also asks for nomination forms related to the panel and all cases in which the Panel received comments from drug manufacturers. Wyden materials requested for June 30.

This article was originally published on medicalxpress, Read the original article

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