Impact of financial remuneration on FDA Advisory Committee voting
I'm not sure how the PDUFA's provisions for mandatory fees paid by drug companies to the FDA constitute a conflict of interest as suggested by GW in a comment. These fees are required to get their drugs into the FDA approval process whether the drug is approved or not.
However, for an FDA advisory committee member evaluating the COX-2 inhibitors, affiliation with Pfizer or Merck appears to constitute a clear conflict of interest. Consider these numbers I extracted from the vote breakdown in one report. If you were one of 10 committee members taking money from Pfizer or Merck,
- You had a 100% probability of supporting Bextra compared with a 35% if you had no such tie.
- You had a 90% probability of supporting Vioxx compared to 36% if you had no such tie.
- If these 10 committee members had abstained from the vote, neither drug would have been approved for marketing.
(Celebrex was approved 31 to 1 so the votes of those 10 would have made no difference.)