FDA Emails Show Manager Favoring Speed Over Safety on Blood Pressure Pills

Statement by Celia Wexler, Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists

Published May 31, 2013

WASHINGTON (May 31, 2013) – The Wall Street Journal today published excerpts from Food and Drug Administration (FDA) emails that show an agency manager discouraging a senior scientist from looking into the harmful side effects of popular blood pressure drugs. Instead, the manager sent a clear message that the scientist should focus on new drug approvals.

Last year, Congress passed the FDA Safety and Innovation Act, which encouraged the agency to quickly approve more drugs. From 2009 to 2011, the pharmaceutical industry spent more on lobbying than the oil and gas industry, in part to influence that legislation. Science and public health advocates warned at the time that the legislation would push the agency to overlook safety concerns.

Below is a statement by Celia Wexler, Washington Representative for the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists:

“Congress’s desire for speed over safety is cutting at the core of FDA’s mission. Now, in the interest of expediency, we see an agency manager actively discouraging a scientist from looking into evidence that popular drugs may cause cancer. Congress and FDA leadership need to let scientists use their experience to do their jobs and protect our health.”