We stumbled on this recent interview with Dr. Sidney Wolfe, the director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group and our acting president (pictured at left with our former president, the indefatigable Joan Claybrook), in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Over the course of a brief conversation with Alan Cassels, Dr. Wolfe rebuts a number of big pharma talking points.
Cassels: How do you respond to the people who call you an extremist when it comes to the risks and benefits of medical treatments.
Wolfe: That’s not supported by our record. We have never taken what anyone would call an extreme stance on the safety of any drug or device. I come from an academic medicine background. … I spent most of my time in medical school doing research on drug toxicity. I had done enough research in medical school that I was able to get in the National Institutes of Health. I spent 5 years there doing medical research. I’m an academic. I met Ralph Nader and there was a great need to translate research into action. That’s what we’ve been doing: research-based advocacy. There are people both on the right and the left that aren’t research based. If you’re research based, then you are looking at data and making conclusions based on the data. If someone calls that an extremist then they’ve redefined extremist. That’s their problem not mine. I am not an extremist.
And there’s a fun little cartoon of Dr. Wolfe too. Nicely done.
(Opponents of drug regulation have been howling mad since the Wall Street Journal‘s report on Dr. Wolfe’s appointment to the FDA’s Drug Safety and Risk Management Committee. Yes, that’s right, the FDA is actually moving in the direction of protecting consumers!).