May 30, 2006
Poll: FDA less trustworthy than the industry
A new poll suggests that, amid drug safety worries, the FDA is less trusted than the drug industry, while solid majorities think FDA committee members should be barred from having relationships with drug companies. A Wall Street Journal Online/Harris Interactive Health Care Poll found that six in 10 adults gave the agency a negative rating on the function they rated its most important: ensuring the safety and efficacy of prescription drugs. Eighty percent of respondents said they were very or somewhat concerned about the agency's ability to "make independent decisions that will ensure that patients have access to safe and effective medicines." Asked how good a job the FDA is doing on that front, 58% said "fair" or "poor," while just 36% said "good" or "excellent," a reversal from ratings two years ago. By comparison, only 36% of those surveyed in a recent Harris Interactive industry reputation poll said pharmaceutical firms were doing a bad job of serving consumers, with 61% saying they were doing a good job. Sixty-six percent of respondents to the WSJ Online/Harris Interactive Health Care Poll of 2,371 US adults said FDA committee members should not be allowed to have consulting agreements with drug companies, while 74 percent said they should be barred from holding or purchasing pharmaceutical stocks. Worries about the agency's independence crossed party lines, with 89% of Democrats, 84% of Independents and 71% of Republicans expressing concern.