Birmingham Personal Injury News: FDA Reluctant to Discipline Doctors Found Guilty of Criminal Activities
It’s a sad commentary that some physicians are more concerned about personal gain than about people. As an Alabama personal injury lawyer, I’ve seen the victims of medical malpractice up close and I'm appalled by the seemingly lack of compassion on the part of many doctors whose actions result in the injury or death of a patient. Anyone who has suffered from medical mistakes, improper surgerical procedures, or other physician-related errors should contact an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible.
Recently I ran across a story detailing how the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been slow to bar healthcare professionals, such as doctors and medical researchers who have been convicted of various crimes, from carrying out research for the FDA. According to government watchdog group, many of these criminally convicted health professionals are in charge of overseeing the safety of patients undergoing clinical trials, which calls into question how safe any of us are when it comes to medical research in general.
The FDA has been so slow, in fact, that one documented case involved a doctor who carried out work for the FDA for 11 years even though he had been convicted of 53 counts of criminal offense for, among other things, bribing an employee to conceal information about the attempted suicide of a clinical-trial patient and prescribing a drug without a license.
This is shocking, but it only serves to remind us all that we are not always as safe in the hands of medical professionals as we expect to be. A variety of injuries and chronic afflictions, not to mention wrongful death are just some of the adverse outcomes of medical malpractice.
According to report, the FDA has the authority to bar doctors from overseeing the safety of patients in clinical trials if those health professional flout federal regulations. The FDA is required to disqualify doctors who are convicted of fraud or other crimes. However, it takes the agency an average of four years to strip doctors of their powers, according to a report by the independent Government Accountability Office (GAO).
The types of misconduct that can get a doctor debarred include submitting false information to the FDA, forging patient consent forms and not reporting when a patient has an adverse reaction to an experimental drug.
The GAO says it recommends that the FDA be given debarment authority for medical devices, and that regulations be rewritten so any doctor debarred from one area of agency regulation is barred from participating in all others. The report notes that three doctors who either didn't follow FDA regulations or committed crimes still haven't been debarred. One of the cases stretches back to 2005.
FDA Slow to Debar Doctors Who Commit Crimes, Report Says, WSJ.com, October 22, 2009