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Fri Jun 24, 2016, 03:18 PM

Senator Renews Scrutiny of Pharma Ties on Federal Panel

Source: Associated Press

Senator Renews Scrutiny of Pharma Ties on Federal Panel

By MATTHEW PERRONE, AP HEALTH WRITER WASHINGTON Jun 24, 2016, 3:09 PM ET

A high-ranking Senate Democrat is pushing for more answers on why doctors and patient advocates with financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry came to serve on a panel that advises the federal government on pain issues.

Sen. Ron Wyden says he is "even more concerned" about these apparent conflicts of interest after receiving a response from the National Institutes of Health, which vetted and selected the panel members. In a letter sent Thursday to the Obama administration's top health official, Wyden requests a series of documents related to the pain panel, including financial disclosure forms filled out by its members.

A spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees NIH, said in a statement, "we will be reviewing the letter and responding in a timely manner."

The panel attracted attention late last year when several members bashed a federal plan to recommend doctors reduce prescribing of painkillers used to treat chronic pain, such as OxyContin and Percocet. The guidelines were ultimately issued in March by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, despite the panel's objections.

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Read more: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/senator-renews-scrutiny-pharma-ties-federal-panel-40114040

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