The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has added a vocal consumer advocate to its policy team. Peter Lurie, former director of the health research group at Washington, DC-based watchdog group Public Citizen, will be serving in the Office of Policy helping to "develop strategies to facilitate medical product availability to meet critical public health needs," Peter Pitts, president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest (CMPI) and former FDA official, wrote on the CMPI's linkurl:Drugwonks; blog on Saturday (Oct. 17). Lurie played a role in raising early alarms about several commercial drugs -- such as Pfizer's Bextra, GSK's Avandia, and Merck's Vioxx -- and in voicing concern about publishing practices in the pharmaceutical industry (see __The Scientist__'s linkurl:story; about the phony "journal" published by Elsevier and funded by Merck). The FDA also appointed attorney John Taylor, who most recently served as executive vice president for the health...

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