Perhaps prompted by recent attention on the connection between the drug Chantix and suicidal thoughts, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced a new policy requiring drug makers to study the effect of their products on suicidal tendencies.
According to a report published by the New York Times, warnings about a possible link between antidepressant drugs and suicide in children and teens were discounted by top FDA officials as little as four years ago. However, a team of researchers from Columbia University were authorized to reassess records from clinical trials and concluded that such concerns were genuine. That result, coupled with findings that most negative data from clinical drug trials are never published, may have been the catalyst behind the new FDA regulations. Reports indicate that Eli Lilly, Merck, and Sanofi-Aventis are already using suicide assessment as part of their clinical tests, and that the FDA has been contacting a host of other drug manufacturers about the new policy over the last few months.