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Senate: pass strong drug safety bill this week

Monday, April 30, 2007

Senate Urged to Pass Strong Prescription Drug Safety Provisions and Oppose Attempts to Weaken Patient-Safety Measures

Senate vote this week on first significant drugs safety legislation in 45 years

(Washington, D.C.) – Consumers Union is urging the Senate to approve strong prescription drug-safety provisions this week in a major Food and Drug Administration bill, and resist attempts to weaken the bill when it comes to triggering quick safety action or moderating mass advertising of a new drug when there are signs of danger.
“This bill will save countless lives in the years to come by giving the FDA more funding and flexible tools to ensure the safety of prescription drugs in the marketplace,” Jim Guest, president and CEO of Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports, wrote in a letter to the Senate.
Click here to read the full letter.
“It also will help return public trust in an agency that has been severely damaged by Vioxx, Paxil and other recent drug safety disasters,” Guest added.
Americans are extremely concerned about prescription drug safety and support Congressional action on the issue. A national poll recently conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center found that more than 60 percent of Americans agree that the FDA and Congress have failed to adequately protect consumers from harmful prescription drugs. It also found that 84 percent agree the government should “have the authority to take any action necessary” to ensure drug safety.
Consumers Union’s network of grassroots activists are also being urged to contact their Senators in support of strong safety provisions and opposition to any weakening amendments. The Senate begins debate today, and votes could occur throughout the week.
“There is nothing in this legislation that would slow down the approval of important, life-saving drugs. Rather, it gives the FDA effective authority to ensure safety once drugs come to market by improving the surveillance of post-market adverse events and communicating possible risks to doctors and patients,” Guest wrote.
Contact: Susan Herold, Bill Vaughan, 202-462-6262