Big Pharma Money ‘Permeates’ World’s Drug Regulatory Agencies, BMJ Investigation Shows | By Michael Nevradakis, Ph.D. | the Defender | ChildrensHealthDefense.org

Over the past decades, regulatory agencies have seen large proportions of their budgets funded by the industry they are sworn to regulate, according to an investigative report published Thursday by The BMJ.

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Over the past decades, regulatory agencies have seen large proportions of their budgets funded by the industry they are sworn to regulate, according to an investigative report published Thursday by The BMJ.

The report examines whether drug regulators in six countries, including the U.S., “have sufficient independence from the companies they are meant to regulate.”

Investigative journalist Maryanne Demasi found significant conflicts of interest have developed between drugmakers and the agencies charged with drug regulation, resulting in a negative impact on the quality of pharmaceutical products that reach the public.

In all 6 countries, ‘Big Pharma’ provided bulk of drug regulator funding

The issue of conflicts of interest between pharmaceutical regulators and “Big Pharma” is not new. Demasi referred to a 2005 example from the U.K., where the House of Commons health committee investigated the drug industry’s influence on health policy, including the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), the U.K. equivalent of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

The committee expressed concern that pharma’s funding of the MHRA and similar agencies could lead them to “lose sight of the need to protect and promote public health above all else as it seeks to win fee income from the companies.”

“Nearly two decades on, little has changed,” Demasi reported. “Industry funding of drug regulators has become the international norm.”

Demasi based her conclusion on interviews with regulators in Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan, the U.K. and the U.S.

She asked them about their funding, the level of transparency in their decision-making and data and their drug approval processes.

According to Demasi, her findings broadly indicate, “industry money permeates the globe’s leading regulators, raising questions about their independence, especially in the wake of a string of drug and device scandals.”

Demasi said “industry money saturates the globe’s leading regulators,” with the majority of their budgets — “particularly the portion focused on drugs” — coming from the pharmaceutical industry.

For instance, the FDA, despite being the most highly funded of the six regulatory authorities studied, receives 65% of its funding for drug evaluation from industry user fees.

Continued on Source: Big Pharma Money ‘Permeates’ World’s Drug Regulatory Agencies, BMJ Investigation Shows