Search the web
Yahoo! NewsSign In
New User? Sign Up
Printable Version Sponsored by: HP
Print better photos. hp

Welcome, Guest Personalize News Home Page   -   Sign In
Yahoo! News   Tue, Jul 13, 2004
Search for    Advanced
Reuters
FDA Lawyer Collaborated with Drug Firms -Lawmaker

Tue Jul 13, 5:46 PM ET
Add Health - Reuters to My Yahoo!

By Susan Heavey

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (news - web sites)'s top lawyer has inappropriately intervened in a number of civil lawsuits on behalf of drug and medical device makers, a U.S. lawmaker charged on Tuesday.

Yahoo! Health
Have questions about your health?
Find answers here.

 

U.S. Rep. Maurice Hinchey, a New York Democrat, said the agency's chief counsel, Daniel Troy, filed friend-of-the-court briefs for drug companies in at least four cases where they were defendants, including one on behalf of his former client Pfizer .

Troy also met with pharmaceutical industry lawyers and representatives before filing the briefs, said Hinchey, a member of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee which oversees the agency.

Instead of protecting the public, Troy was "making it the agency's mission to protect the drug companies from being held accountable when their products do serious harm," said Hinchey.

In the Pfizer case, Flora Motus of California claimed the company's antidepressant Zoloft caused side effects that led to her husband's suicide. The case was dismissed.

Other companies that Troy either met with or supported with legal briefs include SmithKline Beecham Consumer Healthcare, a unit of GlaxoSmithKline Plc, and California-based Pacesetter Inc. among others, according to Hinchey.

Troy could not immediately be reached for comment.

FDA (news - web sites) Acting Commissioner Lester Crawford said Troy followed the agency's ethical policies and recused himself from government work that involved former clients for one year after his appointment in August 2001.

"Any allegation that he has not conducted himself in compliance with applicable legal and ethical rules is simply false," Crawford said in a statement.

But some experts said Troy's actions, while perhaps not illegal, are inappropriate.

The Washington-based liberal think tank Center for American Progress on Tuesday alleged that court documents showed Troy "counseled pharmaceutical industry insiders on how to escape oversight from his own agency."

Allison Zieve, a staff attorney for consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, said the FDA previously refrained from taking sides in private lawsuits.

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed an amendment by voice vote that cuts $500,000 from Crawford's direct budget and adds that amount elsewhere in the agency to "ensure the accuracy of drug advertisements." Hinchey sponsored the amendment, which is part of the pending agriculture bill.


Story Tools
Mail to Friend  Email Story
Message Boards   Post/Read Msgs (4)
Printer Version   Formatted Story  
Ratings: Would you recommend this story?
Not at all 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 Highly
Tools Sponsored by: HP

Special Feature

Stuck on Tape?
The ultimate guide to buying a new video camera

More Health Stories
· Summer Sun Is a Vision Threat  (HealthDay)
· Rise in PSA May Predict Aggressive Prostate Cancer  (American Cancer Society)
· US defends efforts to contain AIDS problem after UN, French attacks  (AFP)
· WHO Says World Has 'Failed' in AIDS Fight   (AP)
· Tests Sniff Out Trace Elements of Nuts  (HealthDay)


Copyright 2004 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.
Copyright © 2004 Yahoo! Inc. All rights reserved.
Questions or Comments
Privacy Policy -Terms of Service - Copyright Policy - Ad Feedback