The concerns raised or exacerbated by PDUFA have an additional dimension. The interests of industry and the public are sometimes at odds, and some critics fear that PDUFA may have increased FDA’s responsiveness to one set of interests at the expense of the other set of interests, in some circumstances. It is important to note that FDA’s various constituencies have mixed expectations. The public, as reflected in the goals of multiple consumer and patient advocacy groups, has a simultaneous desire for speed and safety. Although the public wants to preserve the consumer protections afforded by drug regulation in America, it also may demand earlier patient access to potentially life-saving therapies, as was so effectively exemplified in the successes of the AIDS treatment advocacy movement. The industry, while developing a product that serves the public good by providing reliable and effective therapies, has a superseding fiduciary duty to its shareholders—a duty that requires that it be profit-seeking and asset-conserving—so its expectations are for smooth review and approval processes and the fewest regulatory impediments. FDA itself is accountable to Congress, whose members represent the American people. The committee believes that FDA’s most important constituency is the public and that commitment to the public good will ideally influence and check FDA’s interactions with the industry.
External observers, from scientists to legislators, have noted that a key organizational challenge for CDER is the striking disparities between divisions responsible for premarket and postmarketing activities. There are disparities in the formal role, authority, resources, and relative institutional value conferred on the two groups of staff. Many of those issues have been confirmed by the 2006 GAO report on FDA’s postmarket decision-making and oversight process. The committee is not arguing that the responsibilities, resources, and other features of OND and ODS/OSE must necessarily be equal in every respect. The committee did not attempt to undertake a point-by-point comparison of OND and ODS/OSE (roles, capabilities, resources currently and in a perfect world), but it does assert that the formal function and resources of ODS/OSE have not been commensurate with the importance of safety or with the tasks of monitoring postmarketing drug safety. Inadequate management, discussed later in this chapter, also may contribute to the gap between ODS/OSE and OND and to the sense of interoffice tension or, at best, disharmony between the two offices. To some critics, the most concerning outcomes of the disparities between the premarketing