The debate over how to handle conflicts of interest among experts appointed to US government advisory panels heated up today (July 24), as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it will look more closely at how it manages the issue on its science panels.For instance, the agency plans to revise the guidelines used to determine when an expert with a conflict of interest deserves a waiver, typically issued when the conflict is deemed to be insignificant, or the scientist's expertise too great to lose. In addition, the FDA plans to look at ways to improve explaining to the public why some scientists received waivers. "There's more we can do to simplify how we communicate the criteria we use to give waivers," FDA deputy commissioner for medical scientific affairs Scott Gottlieb told The Scientist.The FDA's plan to review its policy on waivers follows the introduction of a bill in...

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