A Harvard Medical School professor was one of several doctors criticized in a congressional report released yesterday for "improper promotion" of a drug used to combat wrinkles and for failing to disclose her financial ties to the drug's manufacturer.
Assistant professor of dermatology Dr. Lynn A. Drake, criticized in the report, received $2,000 plus travel expenses for moderating a January 1988 press conference on Retin A, The Boston Globe reported yesterday.
Retin A is a Johnson and Johnson drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use against acne but not against wrinkles.
In addition, the Globe reported, Drake received honoraria for discussing the product during several television appearances. The physician could not be reached at her home or office yesterday.
The congressional report accuses the Food and Drug Administration of failing "to protect patients from potentially dangerous unapproved uses of products that are widely used to fight wrinkles and improve appearance."
It also describes the investigation of several physicians and their ties to these unapproved uses.
In addition to Retin A, the report mentions silicone injections, not approved for treating wrinkles, and collagen injections, approved for treating wrinkles but promoted by companies for improper use in lip enlargements.
House members, led by the late Rep. Ted Weiss (D-N.Y.), studied companies' promotion of "off-label" uses for drugs such as Retin A for three years before releasing the report. Off-label uses are those for which the Food and Drug Administration has either not received or not approved an application.
The report claims that patients may be "risking permanent disfigurement or potentially fatal illnesses" if they use any of the three treatments.