Neurologists Say FDA Hurts Patient Care

Neurologists Say FDA Hurts Patient Care

Poll Results Demonstrate Need for Additional Reform
October 05, 1998

WASHINGTON, DC, October 5, 1998—A new nationwide poll of neurologists and neurosurgeons sponsored by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) finds that delays in FDA approval of new drugs and medical devices is viewed as a serious problem by a large majority of these specialists. "When so many doctors have such negative views of an agency ostensibly dedicated to promoting public health, it is clear that significant reform is needed," said CEI policy analyst Gregory Conko.

The poll will be released at a press conference at 10:00 AM on Thursday, October 8th, in room 311 of the Cannon House Office Building. Representatives Joe Barton (R-TX) and Peter DeFazio (D-OR), leaders in the FDA reform effort, will join CEI’s Sam Kazman and Gregory Conko at the event. Kellyanne Fitzpatrick and Jason Booms of the polling companyä , which conducted the poll, will also be on hand to answer questions.

Highlights of the poll include:

  • Two-thirds (67%) believe that the FDA is too slow in approving new drugs and devices.
  • More than half (58%) believe that the additional time it takes to approve new drugs and devices costs lives by forcing patients to go without potentially beneficial treatments.
  • Nearly four out of five (79%) respondents believe that the FDA’s policy of limiting information about "off-label" uses of approved drugs and devices makes it harder for them to learn about new treatment methods.
  • A striking 80% of respondents said that the FDA’s approval process has hurt their ability to treat patients with the best possible care at least once.
  • 73% of respondents said that they would favor changing federal law to make unapproved drugs and devices available to physicians if they carried a warning about their unapproved status.

The survey included 202 respondents and has a +4.9 percent margin of error. Two previous CEI polls—one of cardiologists, completed in July 1996, and one of cancer specialists, completed in August 1995—found similar results on each of these points.

CEI, a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group founded in 1984, is dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government. For more information, contact Emily McGee, director of public relations, at 202-331-1010.