Pharma pays to attend FDA advisory panel meetings

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Pharma pays to attend FDA advisory panel meetings

Postby NHE » Tue Oct 08, 2013 4:28 am

Pharmaceutical firms paid to attend meetings of panel that advises FDA ... story.html

A scientific panel that shaped the federal government’s policy for testing the safety and effectiveness of painkillers was funded by major pharmaceutical companies that paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for the chance to affect the thinking of the Food and Drug Administration, according to hundreds of e-mails obtained by a public records request.

The e-mails show that the companies paid as much as $25,000 to attend any given meeting of the panel, which had been set up by two academics to provide advice to the FDA on how to weigh the evidence from clinical trials. A leading FDA official later called the group “an essential collaborative effort.”


While science was the subject of the meetings, the subject of money runs through the e-mails.

Even for a pharmaceutical company, the $20,000 price for an invitation to a Washington meeting seemed high.

When some drug companies balked at the fee, the organizers of the meeting, Dworkin and Turk, were firm.

“20k is small change, and they can justify it easily if they want to be at the table,” Dworkin wrote to Turk in July 2003, after an Eli Lilly representative bridled at the price. “Everybody has been very happy with [the meetings] and they are getting a huge amount for very little money (impact on FDA thinking, exposure to FDA thinking, exposure to academic opinion leaders and their expertise, journal article authorship, etc.) and they know it.”

“Do they really expect it to be any less than 20K per meeting for all this?” Dworkin wrote.

At another point, a company representative called to say that he could come up with $10,000 to attend and was “trying to find more,” as Dworkin told Turk in the e-mail.

“He didn’t realize we were inflexible on the 25k, and then asked, a bit testily, how many companies were already on board and when I said 10 he then asked whether it costs 250K to hold a meeting in DC,” Dworkin wrote. “I gave our standard response to this, which appeared to mollify him fine.”
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