Elders Discusses Improving FDA Drug Testing

Vioxx is one drug that was pulled off the market after receiving FDA approval and a trial is underway in Angleton. One question being asked is if the company deliberately minimized safety issues. Former U.S. Surgeon General Doctor Joycelyn Elders says the Vioxx issue shows a need for more analysis of drugs after they are approved for the general population.

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Doctor Elders says the Food and Drug Administration may not be perfect and may not have the funding it needs, but she says it's a solid agency. Elders explains that most drugs are tested in a controlled environment. She says it follows that when it is released to the general population, the possibility for more reactions and side affects always exists.

Elders says the idea of post marketing surveys, that is to track how the general population is handling a drug compared to a controlled group of people, is starting to catch on. Elders currently is a distinguished professor of public health at the University of Arkansas. She was in Houston continuing to draw attention to the needs of the uninsured. Elders says many of the uninsured can be found among inner city populations and among immigrants.

Elders continues to be a strong supporter of universal health care coverage. She says the country's mind set has to change, including understanding that there is a crisis. Elders say the medical community has not been a good leader in the health care debate.

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