Center for Science in the Public Interest

For Immediate Release: February 2, 2004

CSPI Urges Removal of FDA Panelists on SSRIs

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been urged to remove three of 11 scientists on one of its advisory boards evaluating the link between serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and suicide in youths because they have been paid consultants for the companies that make the drugs under investigation.

In a letter to the FDA, Merrill Goozner, director of the Integrity in Science Project at CSPI, wrote that the three scientists have financial conflicts of interest that run afoul of the Federal Advisory Committees Act.

The three scientists were identified in a Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) investigation into the make-up of the FDA advisory committees that will meet Monday to discuss the possible link between suicide and the use of SSRIs in children.

The FDA in the past two weeks has added eight new members to the Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee, which along with the Pediatric Subcommittee will be evaluating the drugs.

The industry-funded scientists on the committee include:

“Appointing scientists to an drug advisory committee who may have preconceived notions based on their previous industry-funded studies of the drugs is like asking a defendant to serve on a jury,” said Merrill Goozner, director of the Integrity in Science Project at CSPI. “The FDA should not grant these scientists waivers to serve on the committee. It should find scientists who can offer a fair and impartial opinion on possible problems associated with these drugs.”

The backgrounds on many of the scientists serving on the FDA panels can be found in the Integrity in Science database at While the database may not be complete, all data on scientists in the database has been checked against publicly available records.

For more information, contact:

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