No therapeutic drug is completely safe, and most compounds' healing powers come with side effects. To help illuminate this double-edged sword, Pfizer
Pfizer's new website shows patients how to report directly to the FDA if they think they have experienced any serious side effects from a drug they've taken. It also has a heavy focus on explaining the benefits and possible risks associated with Pfizer's drugs, as well as education on judging risk in general. Sure, patients could find the same information on potential drug perils through other sources, but the website does allow Pfizer to show that it's taking drug-safety issues seriously. That said, the company's motives may not be entirely altruistic.
Pfizer's new public emphasis on drug safety follows months of increased FDA focus on drugs' adverse events. As part of the new PDUFA regulations passed last year, the FDA gained increased power from Congress to regulate drugmakers, including ordering them to test their compounds for potential safety issues even after gaining marketing approval.
Many drug developers with recently approved compounds, like Adolor
The FDA's renewed focus on drug safety may date back to Merck's
While Pfizer's drug safety website is surely motivated in part by its own long-term benefit -- helping patients understand medicine and risks will probably boost its sales, for instance -- it nonetheless pays to stay on the FDA's good side, too.