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Letter to Congressional Heart and Stroke Coalition

October 7, 2005
The Honorable Byron Dorgan
Congressional Heart and Stroke Coalition
Senate Heart 713
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Dorgan:
As the Congressional Heart and Stroke Coalition considers future legislative initiatives, Consumers Union, the independent, non-profit publisher of Consumer Reports, urges you to support changes in the Food and Drug Administration’s prescription drug post-market approval safety procedures.
There is legislation pending in the Senate S. 470 and S. 930 (and to some extent in the House) that if it had been enacted, the entire Vioxx disaster likely could have been avoided: thousands of lives saved, tens of thousands of heart attacks and strokes avoided, and billions of dollars in litigation costs saved. Attached is information on the many problems with the current FDA drug safety system and how various legislative proposals would fix those problems.
We hope the Coalition might discuss these problems and legislative proposals in future meetings. Improving the safety of prescription drugs on the market without slowing the approval of new life-saving drugs is vital to our nation’s quest for healthy hearts.
If we can provide additional information, we would be happy to help.
William Vaughan
Senior Policy Analyst