The FDA's plan to release preliminary information about potential drug side effects on its proposed "Drug Watch" Web page could lead to "irrational fears" about prescription drugs, The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) said.
"Such information is. . . not likely to accomplish anything other than confusion among physicians and the public and creation of irrational fears about the safety of drugs on the list," PhRMA said in written comments to the FDA on Monday.
"There's a deep concern that bad information gets into the system ... and people stop using drugs they need," PhRMA President Billy Tauzin told Reuters. But, he added, "I'd rather have them (FDA) doing it than some blogger" on the Internet.
The FDA proposed the Web page following charges that the agency suppressed concerns of staff scientists about medicines including Merck's Vioxx, withdrawn last year amid evidence linking the drug to heart attacks and strokes.