Senate OKs bill overhauling nation’s drug safety system

WASHINGTON — The Senate today approved a major overhaul of the nation’s drug safety system, designed to fix the problems revealed by the withdrawal of the painkiller Vioxx and other recent lapses.

The bill would create a computerized system to scan medical and pharmacy records for indicators of trouble with new medications, and give the Food and Drug Administration stronger powers to require drug makers to take remedial action when problems arise.

The 93-1 vote came after about a week of debate that centered on how to find a balance between delivering promising new drugs to doctors and patients while also protecting the public from rare side effects that may not be immediately evident. Sen. Bernard Sanders, the Vermont independent who is a strong critic of the pharmaceutical industry, voted no. Read More….

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