Help FDA Help Patients Have a Bigger Voice

By: Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D.

Get Informed. Get Involved. Help FDA Help Patients Have a Bigger Voice.  That’s the slogan of a new FDA web site that I’m excited to announce today. The FDA Patient Network has been designed from the ground up to focus entirely on patients.

Margaret Hamburg, M.D.FDA has long been developing ways to increase patients’ interest and participation in the agency’s work, and in the policies and decisions that affect them.

Since the early 1990s, FDA has been working directly with patients and patient advocates to help them learn more about how medical products are developed and regulated. Patient representatives participate in FDA advisory meetings, and contribute the important perspective of their patient community. When patients better understand the intricacies of how medical products are studied, reviewed, assessed and brought to market, their input will be that much more focused and valuable. We hope, with the launch of this new web site, to expand the role of patients beyond the select group of patient representatives and to engage a wider audience of patients in new and broader ways.

The FDA Patient Network web site is an interactive tool for educating patients, patient advocates, and consumers on how their medications – both prescription and over-the-counter ­–and medical devices move from the realm of idea to the realm of the marketplace. It brings together, in one place, information that is important to patients, making it easier for them to find what they are looking for and to understand the significance of their findings.

This web site will open new channels of communication with the public, such as live chats with senior agency officials. It will help patients and consumers better understand the process for determining whether medical products are safe and effective and encourage them to contribute their ideas and concerns about the development and regulation of these products.

I am excited because this new Patient Network web site provides a new model for FDA to follow in making its inner workings transparent to the public. It ushers in a new era of access and input for patients and consumers that will evolve with the needs of both communities. I encourage you to explore the new site at PatientNetwork.FDA.gov.

Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D., is Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration

Watch this video to learn more about FDA’s Patient Network initiative: