The Relationship between the Pharmaceutical Industry, the FDA and the Government.

By: Kelsie Wolf

It’s a fact that prescription drugs in Canada are far cheaper than in the U.S. and many American consumers are taking advantage of these savings despite controversys. Prescription drug manufacture and use are monitored by Health Canada, an agency similar to the FDA, and have been proven safe and effective. Yet the FDA warns against drug importation, claiming it is unsafe. Public policy does not favor importation despite proof that it would lower American health care costs. With no reason to believe Canadian drugs are unsafe for American consumers, why is the FDA and the government so dead set against drug importation?

The answer lies in their relationship to the pharmaceutical industries. The FDA employs some of the same people that are employed by the pharmaceutical industry. In fact, individuals often go back and forth from their government jobs with the FDA and their jobs in the private sector. Furthermore, persons with financial interest in a particular drug have been involved in the process of approving that same drug through the FDA. Four persons who stood to benefit financially from the birth control pill Yaz voted on the approval of the drug, which was later found to be unsafe. However, a doctor who had warned against the pill early on was not allowed on the board because he presented a conflict of interest. This is only one example of paid consultants for the pharmaceutical industry being involved in FDA approval of a drug with dangerous consequences.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) represents the nation’s major pharmaceutical companies. PhRMA’s mission statement is “to conduct effective advocacy for public policies that encourage discovery of important new medicines for patients by biopharmaceutical research companies.” Their actions speak differently. For example, one of the main reasons Canadian drugs are cheaper is that the government puts a cap on what pharmaceutical companies can charge pharmacies and distributors. In 2003, PhRMA was instrumental in passing the Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement and Modernization Act, which prevents government negotiation on prices with the drug companies. The kind of lobbying PhRMA does is geared towards profits, not new discoveries.

The pharmaceutical industries get away with this because they have one of the largest lobbying groups in Washington. They donate billions to politicians and political parties who favor their interests. Even President Obama, who had once expressed support of drug importation, gave in to the pressure of the industry in order to pass his health care act. Without their support, his entire bill could have crashed. Drug importation would eat into profit, and with strong ties to the FDA and politicians in their pocket, the pharmaceutical industry has the power to stop it.

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Victoria Lougheed is a pharmacist and is associated with onlinepharmacysafety. In the present article , she has explained the Relationship between the Pharmaceutical Industry, the FDA and the Government. To know more Safe Online Pharmacy you can visit online pharmacy safety and Victoria's Google+ profile


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