FDA Chief Appeals to Health Pros to Help Improve Rx Drug Safety

MAY 01, 2005
Ken Rankin

Acting FDA Commissioner Lester M. Crawford is appealing to the nation's pharmacists, physicians, and other members of the health care community to assist his agency in making medicines safer for patients.

In an address at the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Convention, Crawford outlined a number of programs currently under way at the agency to reduce adverse reactions to approved drugs, but he acknowledged that the FDA cannot achieve its goals without help.

Noting that "the urgency of these programs is not matched by our resources," Crawford called on USP members and other health care "allies" to provide additional support for the FDA's efforts.

"One area where your members and other volunteers can be of particular help is sending the FDA more data on drug-associated adverse events," he said. "These data, which many of you receive firsthand from patients, provide vital drug safety information for our programs and [are] essential in restoring the confidence of Americans about the quality of their medication and health care system."

For example, Crawford hopes to build on existing joint efforts such as the current information exchange partnership between the FDA's Med- Watch program and USP's Practitioner Reporting Network and Medication Error Program.

Mr. Rankin is a freelance medical writer.