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October 15, 1973

The Government Yields

Author Affiliations

Director, AMA Department of Drugs

JAMA. 1973;226(3):351-352. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03230030063021

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There is possibly no more favorite whipping boy in Washington, DC, these days than the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Long the target of Congressional critics, the FDA more recently has come under attack by the "consumer advocates" who accuse the beleaguered agency of insensitivity in protecting the public health. Indeed, the Nader-type critics appear to be dissatisfied with any FDA decision short of guaranteeing that drugs are 100% effective as well as totally harmless. The thrust of these critics is for more governmental regulation.

Buffeting the FDA from the opposite direction is a pharmaceutical industry that complains of red tape, bureaucratic harassment, and long delays in approving new drugs. The industrial critics obviously favor less governmental regulation.

Finally, there is a profound distrust of the FDA by a large segment of the medical profession. In the eyes of many physicians, the FDA is interfering with quality medical practice by