The FDA drug approval process

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This comic was based on the shocking 2006 revelations (or not so shocking, if you've been paying attention) that the FDA conspired with drug companies to hide negative drug trial results, ignore urgent safety warnings on drugs like Rezulin, and even to censor its own scientists (like Dr. David Graham) who were sounding the alarm over drugs that were killing tens of thousands of Americans.

In working on this comic, I was trying to envision what this process would look like. How do you visualize an agency that ignores all the science and has a clear mission to promote pharmaceuticals, regardless of public safety considerations?

The simple solution, as you can see, is the See / Hear / Speak no evil convention, followed by an enthusiastic stamp of approval from an FDA bureaucrat so corrupt that money actually rattles out of his pockets as he's stamping "Approved!" on the drug application. Those of you with finely-honed powers of observation will note that the drug being approved is called, "Profital." Another drug name shown on a piece of paper is "Ripitor." (These drug names were Dan's ideas, by the way.)

The scientists in the cartoon aren't supposed to represent any particular person (such as Dr. David Graham) because, in reality, it's the scientists who continue to exercise some degree of scientific skepticism at the FDA. The real crooks are the FDA bureaucrats who have a pro-industry agenda coupled with extreme scientific ignorance and utter disregard for the health and safety of the American people.

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