Et tu, FDA?

This is worth finding out more about: According to the Center for Public Integrity, FDA Staff Travels on Drug Industry Dollars,

Groups tied to FDA-regulated industry paying for agency officials' trips

. From the site:

    Through an apparent loophole in agency rules the Food and Drug Administration has allowed its employees to receive more than $1.3 million in sponsored travel since 1999 from groups closely tied to pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

    FDA policy bars employees from taking trips paid for by the drug, medical device and other companies the agency regulates or by their trade groups. But the Center for Public Integrity has found nonprofit associations that draw their members, their boards and even some of their funding from medical and pharmaceutical-related companies paying for the travel of hundreds of FDA employees.

    The sponsor of the most trips was the Drug Information Association, which footed the bill for more than 600 trips taken by FDA employees. The nonprofit group made up of pharmaceutical and medical device employees, academics and government regulators boasts 13 members on its board of directors who work or have worked for the industry or its consulting groups.

It goes on to say that universities and other organizations also sponsored FDA employees on trips to conferences.

    Many of the private organizations sponsoring FDA employees' trips defend the practice, saying that they help provide a forum for learning about policies.

    "To get all those parties into discussions will lead to greater productivity," said Robert Best, president of the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering.

I expect our friends over at Health Care Renewal will be sinking their teeth into this one.

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