Americans’ Confidence in the FDA Falls Sharply

File799652Confidence in the FDA has hit bottom.
The latest survey on trust in the FDA comes from Harris Interactive, who regularly surveys the public’s faith in the regulator.

see the FDA’s #1 job as "ensuring the safety and efficacy of new
prescription drugs," cited by 61% of the public; however, 58% of people
have a negative view of the FDA’s role in this job, compared to only
35% who think positively about the FDA’s performance in this key role.

This latest drop in confidence in the FDA is driven by the Heparin scare, blogged about here.

Other factors eroding confidence in the FDA include toy safety, food safety,
the recent toothpaste scare, and perceived lags in approving necessary

Jane’s Hot Points: Lack
of trust in our institutions is driving people toward nodes of positive
trust: first and foremost, to "people like me." I continue to refer to
the Edelman Trust Barometer on this issue, a source the I trust.

have lived with risk in daily life since Adam and Eve were tempted in
the Garden of Eden. There is a rising wave of risks, at least as we
perceive them, in our daily lives. The sub-prime mortgage crisis leads
us to mistrust financial services companies. The rising price of gas
drives us to mistrust oil companies. Health insurance denials for care
and increasing health costs compel us to mistrust insurance companies
and those who supply products to the industry.

management requires us to seek information that helps us manage those
risks on a daily basis. Increasingly, people are looking for
trustworthy sources in new places, offline and online. But in the case
of the FDA, which is charged with protecting the public’s health, where
else can we turn? Whether it’s to assess E. coli or new medsAmeri or that
new toy, we need a vigilant, productive, and effective FDA in our
corner. And, for now, 2 in 3 Americans is frustrated with the agency
that’s supposed to protect them.

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Terry & Joe GraedonDanSusannah FoxPeteranon Recent comment authors
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Have They Switched Sides? The Food and Drug Administration originated in its primitive form at the time several decades ago to ensure the health and safety of the citizens of the United States. However, their focus seems to have changed, as they appear to have formed a pathological alliance with the pharmaceutical industry through the money the industry gives the FDA for various reasons, yet so large amounts of funds are issued to the FDA by the industry that it has resulted in possibly half of the FDA’s annual income. Results of this relationship, one could posit, have been the… Read more »

Terry & Joe Graedon

The Heparin Horror may be only the tip of the iceberg. Most Americans assume that the FDA is actively working to ensure that the medicines we take contain exactly what the manufacturers say and nothing else. In reality, the FDA relies on the honor system. Just as the FAA counted on the airlines to voluntarily inspect airplanes, so too the FDA relies primarily on drug companies to voluntarily comply with regulations and police their own products. We now know that the FDA doesn’t have the resources or the manpower to inspect drug manufacturers overseas. Even when it does visit a… Read more »

Susannah Fox

Joe & Terry Graedon just posted their amazing social-media -meets-FDA story at e-patients.net. Here’s an excerpt: E-patients have recently drawn national attention by documenting significant problems with a generic drug – problems that the FDA hadn’t caught… In February 2007 we began receiving emails about Budeprion XL 300 (a generic formulation of bupropion, meant as a substitute for Wellbutrin XL 300). We opened a portal on our website, asking for people to write to us about problems with generic drugs, and that was when the power of e-patients became overwhelmingly apparent. Almost from Day 1, people started flocking to us,… Read more »


Since the Bush regime took over I have seen less and less of the FDA fulfilling it’s mission of public safety first and more and more of fulfilling a mission of ensuring manufacturers make maximum profits. Who do you think the FDA was working for in the latest Westland/Hallmark meat recall scandal when not only didn’t FDA Inspectors protect us from downed cattle, but they watched plant workers use torture to attempt to force sick and diseased cows to stand and pass FDA inspection. I don’t trust the FDA anymore and actually view them as endangering public safety because they… Read more »


1. Don’t fund the FDA.
2. Accident
3. Private Certification Labs
4. Profit!

Gregory D. Pawelski
Gregory D. Pawelski

The FDA is presiding over a transformation in medicine as scientists come to understand diseases in a more detailed way that could improve doctors’ ability to treat patients. Much of what has been done previously has been based on the antiquated model of empiricism (the so-called evidence-based medicine). They want to see that doctors will be able to intervene with medical treatments more effectively to a specific patient’s illness. Doctors treat illnesses based on how well “average” people have responded to a given treatment. Now they can develop a tailored (personalized) response built around understandings of the patient, the treatment… Read more »

bev MD
bev MD

I also get frustrated at times with the FDA, but I think they are taking an unfair hit here. Their job is virtually impossible to perform these days. Think about this, all in the name of capitalism – Baxter outsources its heparin supplies to some other outfit (I forget the name – American Products or something?) – which outsources ITS heparin production to China, which uses at least 12 different plants which clearly no Chinese official is inspecting, and those plants rely on individual Chinese farmers for their source of raw heparin. Now why does Baxter do this? To save… Read more »