Drugs and Medications News: January 2007 Archives

FDA Feeling The Heat

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FDABy Evelyn Pringle

Over the past year, the Bush administration's FDA has been the focus of non-stop investigations and with the Democrats in control of Congress, a long overdue overhaul of the agency is in the cards.

The Government Accountability Office has identified serious problems within the FDA. In an April 21, 2006, report, the GAO found the FDA's performance "disorganized," "bureaucratic," and undermined by infighting between drug evaluation administrators whose allegiance is with the pharmaceutical industry, and the Office of Drug Safety.

According to the GAO, the drug safety office is under-funded, lacks independence and lacks decision-making responsibility. It also criticized the way FDA scientists were prevented from speaking at advisory committee meetings on drugs they were studying.

U.K. researchers tout new drug development model

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drug developmentTwo UK-based academics have devised a way to invent new medicines and get them to market at a fraction of the cost charged by big drug companies, enabling millions in poor countries to be cured of infectious diseases and potentially slashing the NHS drugs bill.

Sunil Shaunak, professor of infectious diseases at Imperial College, based at Hammersmith hospital, calls their revolutionary new model "ethical pharmaceuticals".

Improvements they devise to the molecular structure of an existing, expensive drug turn it technically into a new medicine which is no longer under a 20-year patent to a multinational drug company and can be made and sold cheaply.