FDA has selected 15 people to serve on its new risk communication advisory panel. The purpose of the panel is to "advise FDA about how best to communicate to the public about the risks and benefits of FDA-regulated products so as to facilitate their optimal use," according to an FDA release. There is little doubt that FDA needs toÂ do a better job with this.Â The agency and the media have both been guilty of overblowingÂ minor problems, minimizing major ones,Â and otherwise addressing issues in a way thatÂ is out of proportion to their significance. Congress isn't helping either -- it used to virtually ignore FDA matters, now it sees any potential controversy as a chance for grandstanding and spotlight-hugging. But what kind of a consensusÂ are 15 people going to be able to come to? There needs to be a focused sense of mission, and a strong set of procedures. Otherwise the panel will be little more than an excuse for FDA to claim it is doing something and for panel members to add to their resumes.
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