Sidney Wolfe: Outsider Becomes FDA Insider
This article appeared in November after the elections, however, WSJ printed an article about it yesterday...
As this morning’s WSJ reminds us, this is the guy who called the FDA’s 100th birthday party in 2006 a “propaganda campaign” to hide the agency’s “unprecedented assault on the American public.”
As part of his day job — running the Health Research Group at Public Citizen, the DC nonprofit founded by Ralph Nader — Wolfe has attacked dozens of drugs. Some, like Merck’s Vioxx, have been pulled from the market; others, like GlaxoSmithKline’s Avandia, are still for sale.
Wolfe’s critics say he’s prone to overestimating drugs’ risks, and underestimating their benefits — a tendency that could keep useful medicines of the market. “Is there any drug Sid Wolfe likes?” one anesthesiologist asked when he opposed painkiller lollipops for kids with cancer.
There are some drugs Wolfe believes in — but they tend to be generics with a long history on the market.
FDA Bonus: Nine FDA scientists have written to Obama’s transition team, calling for sweeping changes at the agency. The authors, whose names have not been made public, say managers have coerced agency scientists into manipulating data. An FDA spokeswoman told the WSJ the agency is “actively engaged in a process to explore the staff members’ concerns and take appropriate action.”
Photo: Cassie M. Chew for the WSJ