SOURCE: BioCentury Publications

September 17, 2010 06:00 ET

New TV Show "BioCentury This Week" Debuts This Sunday

Joins CBS W*USA 9 "Sunday Power Block" Lineup; First Show Airs Debate on Drug Safety

REDWOOD CITY, CA and WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - September 17, 2010) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration this week celebrates the career of Dr. Frances Kelsey, who prevented a thalidomide disaster 50 years ago and ushered in the modern era of drug regulation. But few Americans know that -- today -- thalidomide is saving lives in the U.S.

On Sunday, September 19, the premiere edition of BioCentury This Week explores the half-century debate over the risks and benefits of thalidomide and newer potentially life-saving drugs, and shows why drug safety is not a black and white issue.

BioCentury This Week premieres this Sunday at 8:30 a.m. on W*USA Channel 9 in the Washington, D.C. market, and on Fox affiliate WFXT Channel 25 in the Boston, Mass., market. It joins the CBS "Sunday Power Block" lineup that includes CBS Sunday Morning, Face the Nation, This Week in Defense News, Platt's Energy Week, and The McLaughlin Group.

The program will be streamed to the global audience via the BioCentury This Week website,, starting at 9:00 a.m. this Sunday.

The September 19th BioCentury This Week puts the spotlight on the post-thalidomide debate. Has FDA overstepped its role -- preventing patients from receiving needed treatments? Or, as some assert, has the agency not taken enough precaution to ensure public safety?

Addressing the issues on this Sunday's broadcast of BioCentury This Week:

Robert Temple, deputy director for clinical science at FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research and a veteran of drug safety debates, provides his view on whether a separate group at the agency should make decisions about safety.

Mary Pendergast, who was FDA deputy commissioner and senior advisor to Commissioner David Kessler in the 1990s when the agency decided to allow thalidomide to be provided to Americans with leprosy and blood cancer. She describes why it's harder for the agency to take such "bold steps" now.

Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, who has made drug safety both a personal and policy mission. His views on consumer choice may surprise some of his critics.

Bill Vaughan, senior policy analyst for Consumers Union, the publisher of Consumer Reports, who calls for "head-to-head" trials of pharmaceuticals.

Marc Boutin, executive vice president and chief operating officer of the National Health Council patient advocacy group, who says the tolerance for risk needs to accommodate the perspective of patients who need medicines "to live their lives."

Tim Coetzee, president and executive director of Fast Forward, an affiliate of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, who cautions about the risk of "disincentives" to creating new drugs.

The Charter Sponsors of BioCentury This Week include Biogen Idec, a global leader in the discovery, development, manufacturing, and commercialization of innovative therapies. Patients worldwide benefit from Biogen Idec's significant products that address diseases such as lymphoma, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis; the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), an industry trade association representing more than 1,200 biotechnology companies, academic institutions and related organizations in the U.S. and 30 countries; and Rodman & Renshaw, a full-service investment bank providing corporate finance, strategic advisory and related services to public and private companies.

BioCentury This Week is anchored by Washington Editor Steve Usdin and Publisher Eric Pierce, both 18-year veterans of BioCentury. They will be supported by BioCentury's network of senior scientific and business editors, recognized for their deep knowledge and understanding of biotechnology: its science, its history and its players.

About BioCentury
Approaching its 19th year of service, BioCentury Publications, Inc. is internationally recognized as the leading provider of news, analysis and opinion about biotechnology, including emerging technology, product development, industry strategy and finance, regulation and public policy. The company publishes the weekly journal BioCentury: The Bernstein Report on BioBusiness and BioCentury Extra™, a daily online newspaper. BioCentury also publishes SciBX: Science Business eXchange, a translational science journal in partnership with Nature Publishing Group, and markets BCIQ: BioCentury Online Intelligence, a data solutions product for biopharma industry and investment professionals. The company is widely acknowledged in the life science corporate and investment communities for pioneering the creation of three annual conferences that provide turf-neutral venues in the U.S. and Europe for biopharma investors, pharmaceutical licensing professionals and corporate executives to conduct business. BioCentury is headquartered in Redwood City, Calif., with offices in Washington, D.C., Chicago, Chadds Ford, Penn., and London.

About W*USA
W*USA is owned by the Gannett Company Inc. (NYSE: GCI). Gannett is an international news and information company operating on multiple platforms including the Internet, mobile, newspapers, magazines and TV stations. Gannett is an Internet leader with hundreds of newspaper and TV Web sites;, the nation's top employment site;; and more than 80 local sites. Gannett publishes 84 daily U.S. newspapers, including USA TODAY, the nation's largest-selling daily newspaper, and more than 700 magazines and other non-dailies including USA WEEKEND. Gannett also operates 23 television stations in 19 U.S. markets. Gannett subsidiary Newsquest is the United Kingdom's second largest regional newspaper company with 17 daily paid-for titles, more than 200 weekly newspapers, magazines and trade publications, and a network of Web sites. Gannett TV stations are: WATL-TV, Atlanta, Ga., WXIA-TV, Atlanta, Ga., WLBZ-TV, Bangor, Maine, WGRZ-TV, Buffalo, N.Y., WKYC-TV, Cleveland, Ohio, WLTX-TV, Columbia, S.C., KTVD-TV, Denver, Colo., KUSA-TV, Denver, Colo., KNAZ-TV, Flagstaff, Ariz., WZZM-TV, Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek, Mich., WFMY-TV, Greensboro, N.C., WTLV-TV, Jacksonville, Fla., WJXX-TV, Jacksonville, Fla., WBIR-TV, Knoxville, Tenn., KTHV-TV, Little Rock, Ark., WMAZ-TV, Macon, Ga., KARE-TV, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn., KPNX-TV, Phoenix, Ariz., WCSH-TV, Portland, Maine, KXTV-TV, Sacramento, Calif., KSDK-TV, St. Louis, Mo., WTSP-TV, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla. WUSA-TV, Washington, D.C.

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