FDA was "the single greatest obstacle" as to Vioxx Withdrawal
David Graham says the FDA, itself, was the "single greatest obstacle to doing anything effective" about getting the unsafe prescription drug Vioxx withdrawn from the U.S. market. Graham, a relatively high-profile FDA official, made his comments in Washington, D.C. on May 15th 2005 to a roundtable event sponsored by the Public Library of Science (PLoS) and the Government Accountability Project.
In his comments, Graham reiterated some of his now infamous testimony to the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, to the effect that the number of people who "probably died from" as a result of Vioxx use -- 60,000 in his estimation -- equals the number of soldiers killed in the Vietnam war.
Graham's ultimate position is that the FDA had the opportunity and the responsibility to act sooner on Vioxx, but the agency waited until Merck, Inc., the product manufacturer, voluntarily withdrew Vioxx from the U.S. market in September 2004.
"The pharma-FDA complex has to be dismantled," Graham said at the May 2005 roundtable event, "and the American people have to insist on that, otherwise we're going to have disasters like Vioxx that happen in the future."
(Posted by: Tom Lamb)