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The corruption of money

rightly lays blame for our current crisis in pharmaceuticals in the lap of the FDA.

David Reinhardt(askdrdave@earthlink.net)

Your recent article, "Who's Minding the Drug Store?"1 rightly lays blame for our current crisis in pharmaceuticals in the lap of the FDA. Corrupted employees will always be a problem in our society, however, whether working for Big Pharma or the government. May I suggest three changes that would do far more than chastising the FDA and NIH?

First, change the FDA Med-Watch program to allow for more comprehensive tracking of postmarketing adverse side effects. As it stands, MedWatch tracks only death and threat of death effects. Establish a database where physicians and patients can report all adverse events with minimal red tape. Institute 3- or 5-year reviews.

Second, remove Big Pharma from the physician-education system. Require an academic approach to physician continuing education, stripping away "give-away" CEUs [continuing education units] and perks in exchange for listening to drug sales pitches. Block vested interests from offering CEUs.

Third, encourage...

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