Today’s Washington Times featured commentary by Dr. Gilbert Ross. “When Senators Play Doctor: Risk-mongering can stifle innovation, cost lives.”
Dr. Ross essentially argues that the senators have completely misinterpreted the Avandia data, whether intentionally or not, in order to fulfill their objective of creating an independent drug safety division within, but separate from, the FDA. Perhaps Dr. Ross thinks that’s a bad thing—it’s not clear from his commentary. It seems to me that erecting another level of safety in regulating drugs can only be a good thing. But that’s another blog post.
The criticism boils down to the fact that these are senators—mere politicians—who are sticking their noses where they don’t belong—in areas of science of medicine. Unfortunately, we don’t have a separate job for “scientist politicians” who can this job, so our political system is left having to deal with it as it is. Also, the senators criticizing the FDA’s handling of Avandia are undoubtedly relying on the opinions and conclusions of doctors and scientists, mainly because Dr. David Graham, employed by the FDA (the commentary paints him to be an anti-Pharma crusader—perhaps this is true, but perhaps he just puts patient safety a little higher on his list than others do).