--there may be positive changes in the air at the FDA, consistent with the more-hard-nosed team that the Obama administration had appointed to replace the generally pro-business folks of the previous regime. According to the Times:
- The percentage of members of advisory boards granted waivers due to conflicts of interest has been reduced from 15 to 5 since 2007
- Commissioner Margaret Hamburg has issued a letter to staff that any future proposed waivers have to be justified by descriptions of how hard the staff worked to try to find a neutral expert first
- FDA will now release the name of the company involved in the conflict, and a rough dollar amount of the conflict, if a waiver is granted, as part of increased disclosure
The Times continues to hope that there will be less need for disclosure and no conflicts of interest, but also agrees these are all positive steps.