(3 of 3)
Beefing up the FDA's safety portfolio or farming it out to another agency are two ways to address that kind of failure. Another would be for manufacturers to design their drug trials so that more attention is paid to the effects on all patients who take them, not just the relatively healthy ones usually used in their studies. A fourth would be to force drug companies to publish all their clinical data, not just the data that show their product in the best light. Editors at several prominent research journals are calling for measures that would do just that.
In the meantime, the FDA keeps plugging along. It's a small agency with a fine old tradition dwarfed in both budget and political power by the pharmaceutical giants it is being asked to police. It's going to take more than a three-day hearing to straighten that out. --Reported by Perry Bacon Jr. and Mark Thompson/Washington and Alice Park/New York