An advisory board for The US Food and Drug Administration recently voted that the advantage of using four popular Bayer drugs make up for the risks associated with their adverse side effects. But the FDA did not make known the fact that three of the advisors were associated with Bayer.
The three doctors were part of a safety committee that evaluated the safety of Yaz, Yasmin, Beyaz, and Safyal. And they served as consultants, researchers, and speakers for Bayer. Bayer’s studies showed no real danger; whereas, other research and a commissioned study by the FDA found that there is. Advisory committees by the FDA are supposed to make independent decisions concerning medical matters.
The FDA states that members of their advisory committees have to declare all financial dealings they may have with companies in order to guarantee “transparency”. But advisory members are only obligated to make known possible conflicts of interest to the FDA. Therefore, such information is seldom freely available.
In fact, an FDA official who oversees advisory committees admitted that the agency is forbidden to release any information found within a committee member’s financial disclosure. And that when the FDA selects its committees, it is supposed to consider whether a potential committee member would have any financial interest in the meetings outcome.