Ou Health Sciences Center Professor to Serve on FDA Panel / Dr. C. Pat Wilkinson

By Watkins, Robert | THE JOURNAL RECORD, December 3, 1986 | Go to article overview

Ou Health Sciences Center Professor to Serve on FDA Panel / Dr. C. Pat Wilkinson


Watkins, Robert, THE JOURNAL RECORD


For those who like to cheer triumphs off the football field, here's another.

Dr. C. Pat Wilkinson, a clinical professor of ophthalmology at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and director of vitreoretinal services at the Dean A. McGee Eye Institute, has been tapped for a prestigious appointment to one of the federal Food and Drug Administration's most active advisory panels.

Next year, he begins a three-year term on the FDA's Ophthalmic Devices Panel, joining a review process that has its own special impact on the quality of eye care in the United States.

He isn't likely to receive the accolades reserved for Heisman Trophy winners, at least not from the public at large, but his peers and perhaps his father, former OU football coach Bud Wilkinson, understand well that far more is at stake in Pat Wilkinson's quarterly pilgrimage to Washington.

He will become one of five voting members on the panel which has been, if not the busiest, certainly one of those facing the heaviest traffic from manufacturers of devices.

Between August 1984 and August 1985, the FDA reported nearly 900,000 intraocular lens implants in this country. Today, the figure is believed to be in excess of a million a year.

Wilkinson and his colleagues will devote much of their time to studies of adverse reactions in approved implants. But they also will review new models before manufacturers can put them on the market.

It's probably safe to say that the American public knows next to nothing of the process to protect it from unsafe products and procedures. It's always fashionable to be critical of government intervention, and the newest FDA appointee is aware of it.

"A lot of physicians," said Wilkinson, "and certainly patients, view the FDA as a bunch of bureaucrats keeping the public from better treatment."

The truth is that some devices may have been kept off the market longer than necessary, but there was a time - before the devices panel was formed - that implants of questionable quality found their way into broad usage.

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