FDA's Credibility Goes Up In Smoke 

FDA's Credibility Goes Up In Smoke 
Posted by CN Staff on April 24, 2006 at 08:26:19 PT
Editorial: Our View
Source: Delaware Online
Delaware -- The credibility of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is dead. Accusations of political influence to sway science and medicine have dogged agencies during the Bush administration.On Thursday, when the FDA declared that smoked marijuana "has no accepted or proven medical use," it undercut its own authority because the conclusion came from a combined review with federal drug enforcement, regulatory and science agencies.
Marijuana is, of course, illegal except in 11 states that allow its medical use despite the threat of federal arrest.The medical question put to the FDA was distinctly separate from law and policing, though. By folding them all together, the FDA failed to answer what was asked, but it did uphold the government's objection.The FDA also contradicted a 1999 national Institute of Medicine review that said marijuana could help ease nausea from chemotherapy and AIDS wasting. This surely heightens difficulties for researchers pursuing medical efficacy.However, the opinion was in line with Republican Congressman Mark Souder of Indiana, who sponsored legislation two years ago requiring the FDA to rule on pot. Mr. Souder objects to marijuana legalization for any reason.It looks like a foregone conclusion. And it recalls the FDA's indefinite delay of Plan B, the morning-after contraceptive pill banned from over-the-counter sales. The FDA's own staff and experts approved Plan B, but its sale was stopped at the top, contrary to the usual science standards.Evidence of meddling is piling up. The National Cancer Institute got called out for a Web site posting suggesting that abortion increased the risk of breast cancer before reversing itself on expert advice.But the official taboo isn't just sex and politics. Environmental scientists venturing anywhere near global warming have reported objections to publishing results.The reliability of the government to give a straight answer drawn from its huge resources is an embarrassment.The list of in-house repairs gets longer. Complete Title: FDA's Credibility Goes Up In Smoke By Again Mixing Pot and Politics Source: Delaware Online (DE)Published: April 24, 2006Copyright: 2006, The News JournalContact: letters delawareonline.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:IOM Report on Medical Pot Politics of Pot's Report Illuminates Divide on Marijuana 
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