One Doctor’s Vigilant Watch against the FDA

Sidney Wolfe, M.D.

Sidney Wolfe, M.D., cofounded one of Public Citizen’s five policy groups, Health Research Group, with Ralph Nader in 1971 and currently acts as the group’s director. Public Citizen is known as a champion of consumer rights. Wolfe created the website, WorstPills.org, and is a co-author of Worst Pills, Best Pills: A Consumer’s Guide to Avoiding Drug-Induced Death or Illness, as well as two other bestsellers. He and his team of experts have devoted their careers to researching the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and to standing against corruption to protect consumers from harmful or deadly drugs.

Dishonesty in the FDA

Dr. Wolfe is concerned with the way the FDA operates. He asserts that the FDA has become increasingly reckless in the manner in which it approves drugs and makes them available to consumers. Wolf is credited with helping remove 16 drugs —products he deemed unsafe for the average consumer — from the market. In an interview with PBS’s Frontline, Wolfe said, “The sad thing is these were preventable. They could have been avoided. In most, if not all of the cases, there were strong danger signals even before the drug came on the market that there was a problem.”

Health Research Group’s Role

Health Research Group now maintains Dr. Wolfe’s efforts. The organization works to protect consumers from fraud and exploitation within the healthcare sector.Health Research Group’s RoleThe group maintains that physicians should be held accountable for their actions. Additionally, drugs, dietary supplements and medical devices approved by the FDA should be safer and more effective than products currently on the market. Health Research Group also advocates for equality in healthcare, safer transportation systems, such as vehicles and roads, and improved safety issues surrounding both workers and products.

Currently compiled and maintained by Health Research Group, WorstPills.org was instituted in 1971 to present consumer health issues to Congress, the courts and the executive branch of the U.S. government. The site follows the concerns of Wolfe and Health Research Group and focuses primarily on banning ineffective or unsafe drugs and promoting the notion that the FDA should be held more accountable in terms of approved drugs and their placement on the market.

Who Is Responsible?

While at one time the world viewed the FDA as top-notch in its drug-related work, other countries, such as France and the United Kingdom, now hold better reputations for producing and evaluating pharmaceuticals safely and effectively. At the same time, the FDA is not ultimately responsible for the harm that comes from these drugs under U.S. law. The manufacturers are responsible for telling the FDA the truth about the safety of drugs. If drug makers fail to do that and people suffer harm, the companies are to blame.

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