CBS Evening News for Thursday, Sep 01, 1977
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(Studio) Federal government warns meat processors that they will have to stop using nitrate &preservatives unless they can prove chemicals don't pose cancer risk. 1 of orders comes from FDA, in capacity to see that foods are safe and wholesome. FDA (Food and Drug Administration) also has capacity to see that drugs are safe and effective.
REPORTER: Roger Mudd
(DC) Not all drugs that FDA (Food and Drug Administration) allows on market as prescription drugs are safe and effective, according to testimony heard by Senator Edward Kennedy's subcommittee on health. [KENNEDY - says there is no system to monitor drugs over long periods and then report back to FDA.] FDA (Food and Drug Administration) can recall drug already on market, but process is slow. Ex. is case of phenformin, used for last 18 years to treat diabetes; details noted. Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of Ralph Nader's research group, requested recall last April. [WOLFE - cites-no. -of deaths in United States and abroad from reaction to drug; says government has these deaths on its hands.] Reason for length of time before effect of drug found is that FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has no way of finding out how drug is prescribed or effect it has on people. Early tests didn't show birth control pills could cause strokes, that DES might cause cancer in daughters of women taking it, or that thalidomide caused birth defects. Even experts can't agree on how well FDA (Food and Drug Administration) does its job. Process for mfrs.' application to FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for new drug approval noted; some critics say process invites deception by mfrs. because they do own testing and FDA reviews evidence submitted by mfrs. Agency and industry spokesperson say it's not likely to happen; reasons cited. Reliability of process is sometimes questioned; case involving G.D. Searle Pharmaceutical Company, in which FDA has asked Justice Department investigation, noted. Charges of over caution by Agency noted. [FDA (Food and Drug Administration) commissioner Don. KENNEDY - cites basis of controversy on this issue.] Recent studies of Agency shows it's ready for reforms and no one is denying this. However, no matter what drug question is, FDA (Food and Drug Administration) can't be ignored.
REPORTER: Richard Roth