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      Revisiting Financial Conflicts of Interest in FDA Advisory Committees : Financial Conflicts of Interest in FDA Advisory Committees

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      Milbank Quarterly

      Wiley

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          Abstract

          The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Safety and Innovation Act has recently relaxed conflict-of-interest rules for FDA advisory committee members, but concerns remain about the influence of members' financial relationships on the FDA's drug approval process. Using a large newly available data set, this study carefully examined the relationship between the financial interests of FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) advisory committee members and whether members voted in a way favorable to these interests.

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          Most cited references 10

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          Physicians and the Pharmaceutical Industry

           Ashley Wazana (2000)
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            Financial conflict of interest disclosure and voting patterns at Food and Drug Administration Drug Advisory Committee meetings.

            In January 2002, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a draft guidance requiring more detailed financial conflict of interest disclosure at advisory committee meetings. To characterize financial conflict disclosures at drug-related meetings, and to assess the relationship between conflicts and voting behavior at meetings that considered specific products. Cross-sectional study using agendas and transcripts from all FDA Drug Advisory Committee meetings (2001-2004) listed on the FDA Web site. Conflict rates, type, and size. The relationship between having a conflict and voting in favor of the index drug was described for each voter using Mantel-Haenszel relative risks and Monte Carlo simulations; Spearman rho was used for a meeting-level analysis comparing rates of conflict with voting patterns. The impact of the removal of persons with conflicts of interest on the vote margins was also evaluated. A total of 221 meetings held by 16 advisory committees were included in the study. In 73% of the meetings, at least 1 advisory committee member or voting consultant disclosed a conflict; only 1% of advisory committee members were recused. For advisory committee members (n = 1957) and voting consultants combined (n = 990), 28% (n = 825) disclosed a conflict. The most commonly specified conflicts were consulting arrangements, contracts/grants, and investments. Nineteen percent of consulting arrangements involved over 10,000 dollars, 23% of contracts/grants exceeded 100,000 dollars, and 30% of investments were over 25,000 dollars. The meeting-level analysis did not show a statistically significant relationship between conflict rates ("index conflict," "competitor conflict," or "any conflict") and voting patterns, but a weak, statistically significant positive relationship was apparent for competitor conflict and any conflict in the Mantel-Haenszel analyses. The Monte Carlo analyses produced similar findings in the competitor conflict analysis only. In all 3 conflict categories, the exclusion of advisory committee members and voting consultants with conflicts would have produced margins less favorable to the index drug in the majority of meetings, but this would not have changed whether the majority favored or opposed the drug. Disclosures of conflicts of interest at drug advisory committee meetings are common, often of considerable monetary value, and rarely result in recusal of advisory committee members. A weak relationship between certain types of conflicts and voting behaviors was detected, but excluding advisory committee members and voting consultants with conflicts would not have altered the overall vote outcome at any meeting studied.
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              Key opinion leaders and the corruption of medical knowledge: what the Sunshine Act will and won't cast light on.

              The pharmaceutical industry, in its marketing efforts, often turns to "key opinion leaders" or "KOLs" to disseminate scientific information. Drawing on the author's fieldwork, this article documents and examines the use of KOLs in pharmaceutical companies' marketing efforts. Partly due to the use of KOLs, a small number of companies with well-defined and narrow interests have inordinate influence over how medical knowledge is produced, circulated, and consumed. The issue here, as in many other cases of institutional corruption, is that a few actors have accumulated the power to shape the information on which many others base their decisions. Efforts to address this corruption should focus on correcting large imbalances in the current political economy of medical knowledge. A sequestration of pharmaceutical research and development on one hand from pharmaceutical marketing on the other, though difficult to achieve, would address this and many other problems.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Milbank Quarterly
                Milbank Quarterly
                Wiley
                0887378X
                September 2014
                September 2014
                September 09 2014
                : 92
                : 3
                : 446-470
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Drexel University School of Public Health
                Article
                10.1111/1468-0009.12073
                4221752
                25199895
                © 2014
                Product

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