I think our efforts were very successful and I think we definatley impacted the debate. While we were in Washington, the Senate Health committee announced that they would like someone with a personal story of suffering from a drug side effect to testify at Wednesday’s hearing on the Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA).

The families, organized by the advocacy group Consumers Union, are using their experiences to make the case for measures now being considered in Congress, such as mandating disclosure of clinical trial results, requiring studies after medications are sold and imposing limits on consumer drug advertising.

The Food and Drug Administration’s oversight of drug safety has come under scrutiny in the last three years after studies linked antidepressants to suicide risk for children and Merck & Co.’s Vioxx painkiller to elevated chances of heart attack and stroke.

Family members are visiting the offices of Senate and House members who represent their states and home towns, along with those sponsoring legislation on drug safety. Lawmakers have said they may consider the safety measures in coming months as part of legislation that would increase fees drugmakers pay to speed the FDA’s approval process.