Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Pressure on to rekindle drug bill

Tuesday, April 25, 2006 - 12:00 AM

Pressure on to rekindle drug bill

By Alicia Mundy
Seattle Times Washington bureau

WASHINGTON — A year ago, a bill giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) the authority to make pharmaceutical companies conduct safety studies of drugs after they're approved disappeared into the Senate committee that handles health matters.

But the results of a new report by congressional investigators on continuing safety problems at the FDA may put pressure on members of that committee to revive the bill.

Among those senators is Patty Murray, who has not been vocal on general drug-safety issues. The Washington Democrat has served on the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions panel since 1996.

The bill's author, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, applauded the study by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) on Monday, saying it vindicated testimony at a Senate hearing he held in late 2004 on the FDA's safety procedures.

Grassley called the FDA "an agency in denial" and said it's time to act on his bill.


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