Regulatory Focus™ > News Articles > Group: Industry Lobbying Tarnishing FDA Integrity

Group: Industry Lobbying Tarnishing FDA Integrity

Posted 30 March 2012 | By Alexander Gaffney, RAC 

The science advocacy group Union of Concerned Scientists (USC) is lambasting what it claims is excessive industry pressure on the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and claims the pharmaceutical, medical device and biotechnology sectors spent a combined $700 million between 2009 and 2011 to lobby legislative and executive officials.

"Pharmaceuticals companies and related trade groups spent more than $487 million on lobbying over this three-year period, while biotechnology firms and their trade groups spent more than $126 million and device manufacturers and their trade groups spent more than $86 million," wrote USC in a statement released to the press.

"All this money skews the debate and diminishes the public's voice on these issues," said Francesca Grifo, director of the Union of Concerned Scientists' Scientific Integrity Program. "What's at stake here is FDA's ability to make independent, science-based decisions that affect our health and safety." 

USC's analysis also showed millions donated to members of Congress serving on FDA-oversight committees including the House Energy and Commerce Committee and the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

The lobbying number may be particularly inflated for this period due to the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which industry spent well in excess of $100 million on (Inside National Health Reform, McDonough).

In a separate press release, USC claimed the lobbying efforts are focused in part on "relaxing the stricter conflict-of-interest rules enacted in 2007 that directed the FDA to reduce the number of experts on its advisory panels with financial ties to the industries the agency regulates."

USC said it would be making its own case for "even stronger scientific integrity standards at FDA."

Read more:

Drug and Health Product Industry Spent $700 Million on Lobbying

USC - Scientific Integrity at the FDA

Regulatory Focus newsletters

All the biggest regulatory news and happenings.