We live in a time when Americans can rarely agree on anything. However, now, one recent study has united Outsiders across the political spectrum. Researchers found the vast majority of Americans are calling for more transparency from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland recently conducted a study of 4,002 participants. All of the participating Americans ranged in their social makeup, with diverse political leanings, gender, race, and education levels. And despite the group’s differences, all ten questions saw 65% or higher support in favor of greater FDA transparency.
The study was inspired by the controversies surrounding the trials and distribution of the newly approved COVID-19 vaccines.
Americans Demand Greater Access to FDA Restricted Information
According to the Daily Mail, political polarization has driven the American population apart. Nevertheless, the study concluded that despite differences in race or education level, for example, the questions’ answers saw little diversification. Overall, the study saw greater approval ratings than disapproval ratings from participants in regard to the FDA-based questions.
“The idea behind the project,” began the study’s lead author, Dr. Tej Azad, “was that in a time where the FDA’s public profile has probably been higher than [any other time] in the living memory of everyone[,] is there a reason that the agency should be communicating more clearly, and are there opportunities…to do so.”
Questions asked within the study touched on a variety of controversial topics. Several include: should the FDA provide more information on drug decisions, transparency regarding when drug trials are halted or suspended, and explanations regarding decisions made by regulators.
Altogether, the news outlet noted the most approved statement read as follows:
“If drug companies provide false or misleading information about the development of medications to the public, the FDA should share the correct information with the public.”
Paternalism Contributes to High Disapproval Ratings
Transparency clearly remains a point of contention for the American people. Additionally, though, the paternalistic language surrounding the distribution of information remains another dynamic factor contributing to the agency’s disapproval ratings.
After releasing the results of the study, Azad said the responsibility lies on American health experts to clearly convey information so it doesn’t come off as “paternalistic.”
Essentially, this means health experts tend to dictate the actions of American people using language that supports their own agenda.
He explained the concept as “Where you come out in the balance between trying to get folks to adopt what you truly believe to be the right thing or the right behavior, versus truly taking a step back and [saying] ‘hey, here’s all the information[,] you make the call.'”
As we might imagine, he summarized the most correct answer lies somewhere in between those two ideals.