On the FDA Transparency Task Force

On June 2, 2009 the Food and Drug Administration announced the formation of a “Transparency Task Force.” (See FDA Release)  While it is not clear from the release and the Federal Register Notice whether the FDA intends to make more transparent its processes or substantive information about specific devices and drugs, the formation of such a Task Force is a welcome occurrence.

The FDA has undoubtedly been the repository of useful information – about drugs and devices – that has never seen light of day. This information needs to be made public or, as the Obama Administration would say, “transparent.” Concerns that the drug and pharmaceutical industry may have about protecting trade secrets are out-weighed by the need to make this information public so that doctors can act on full information. For too long, the medical profession has been relying on cherry-picked information in prescribing medications or devices. Health care has been compromised at an emotional toll on plaintiffs and to third-party payors, including public and private insurers, that have had to pay for drugs and devices that do not work or that cause injury or illness.

Consumers, medical professionals, and employers who grapple with the cost of rising healthcare should take the time and file comments with the Task Force advocating the need for transparency.

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