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FDA is criticised for hinting it may loosen conflict of interest rules

BMJ 2011; 343 doi: (Published 08 August 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d5070
  1. Jeanne Lenzer
  1. 1New York

The US Food and Drug Administration has come under fire for suggesting that it may loosen conflict of interest rules for its advisers, because of a shortage of experts without ties to the drug and medical devices industry.

The FDA’s commissioner, Margaret Hamburg, said that strict rules on conflict of interest implemented in 2008, which limit the proportion of advisory panellists with industry ties to 13%, may be slowing down approvals of products and hindering innovation.

Dr Hamburg told journalists at a meeting held by the non-profit watchdog Public Citizen in Washington, DC, on 25 July that the agency had to be sure it had “subject-matter experts” “for our important decision making,” reported the online news service Bloomberg News ( …

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