WellPoint, FDA collaborate on tracking drug safety

Now here's an interesting partnership--one that likely will generate some valuable results. WellPoint and the FDA have agreed to work together to create a real-time drug-surveillance system to look for hidden problems that may be related to medications or combinations of drugs, and report them as they happen. Under the terms of the agreement, WellPoint will scan medical data on more than half of its 35 million members. The FDA hopes to strike similar deals with other insurers in the future.

The deal could prove to be something of a turning point for the FDA, which hasn't been doing a great job of detecting problems in drugs once it approves them (think Vioxx, Avandia and Zyprexa for starters). In fact, according to the Government Accountability Office, it detects less than 10 percent of bad drug reactions.

To get a detailed picture of the program:
- read this Wall Street Journal article (free content)

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