AP Report: poor ethics at CDC

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by misskoji, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. misskoji

    misskoji Member

    Report finds poor ethics policing at CDC
    By MIKE STOBBE (AP) – 18 hours ago

    ATLANTA — The government's top public health agency frequently failed to police its outside experts for conflicts of interest, according to a new government report released Friday.

    The report looked at how well the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention looked for and dealt with conflicts among about 250 scientific experts who served on 17 advisory panels in 2007.

    Panel members are supposed to disclose whether they have been paid by — or own stock in — drug companies or other entities that might have an interest in the panel's decisions. The panels provide advice to the CDC on topics such as how many people should get vaccinated and guidelines for cancer screenings.

    Almost none of the 250 advisers that year properly or completely filled out forms in which they were required to state potential conflicts of interest, according to the report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Inspector General.

    The report concluded that the CDC failed to follow-up with some of the experts who disclosed potential conflicts: 85 because of jobs or grants, 28 with stock ownership and 13 who received consulting fees.

    CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden, who took over the agency in June, filed a response that said the agency has improved its monitoring for conflicts of interest. CDC also is taking other steps to simplify reporting of conflicts and to develop new ways of finding out about experts' grants, he wrote.

    Conflicts of interest are not unusual. Many science experts have links to companies that sell medical products, or work for universities that seek government grants. In some cases, experts avoid conflicts by not voting on certain issues, or by selling off their stock. The CDC can also work out an agreement with an expert — called a waiver — spelling out when they can cast votes.

    But even in those cases, the rules were sometimes disregarded. Seven people — all of them on the Advisory Board on Radiation and Worker Health — voted on matters barred on their waivers, the report found.

    CDC officials disputed that finding. It may have appeared from meeting minutes that the experts voted inappropriately, but a review found nothing inappropriate actually occurred, said CDC spokesman Tom Skinner.

    The Office of the Inspector General has been examining conflicts of interest at several federal health agencies, including the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration.

    One member of Congress, Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., said the findings were concerning.

    "The work of the CDC is too important to be tainted in any way," DeLauro said in a statement. She sits on the appropriations subcommittee that has sway over the budgets of the CDC and other health agencies.

  2. mbofov

    mbofov Active Member

    I know that conflicts of interest are rife at the FDA as well, and just medical research results in general are very often skewed towards whoever is funding it. It's pretty sad, but very good to be aware of. I've saw bits of news reports stating that statin drugs are good for the flu ..... those drugs are so dangerous and the companies make so much money from them, that is really scary to me.

  3. AuntTammie

    AuntTammie New Member

    good to know that people are finally starting to take notice.....and hopefully to do something about it