According to local KOMO 4 News in Seattle, Washington, leaked emails from the University of Washington suggest that drug companies have been shelling out cash to gain access to special meetings of the Food and Drug Administration. UW Pain Expert Robert Turk, who wrote some of the emails, denied that this was a problem: “There’s really nothing wrong with having the drug makers in these meetings.” But his emails suggest that corruption could be at work.
In 2003, one of Turk’s counterparts wrote him an email regarding a new special advisory workshop Turk was holding with the FDA: “20k is small change, and they can justify it easily if they want to be at the table…Everybody has been very happy with [the meetings] and they are getting a huge amount for very little money (impact on FDA thinking, exposure to FDA thinking, exposure to academic opinion leaders and their expertise, journal article authorship, etc.) and they know it…Do they really expect it to be any less than 20k per meeting for all this?”
Turk told KOMO, “We could have the FDA pay for it – and they don’t have the money. We could have (National Institutes of Health) pay for it but they don’t fund this kind of thing. Or who?”