FDA to track drugs that have already been approved

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The Food and Drug Administration will set up a board to monitor the safety of drugs already in the marketplace, the agency announced Tuesday.

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt said the new Drug Safety Oversight Board would update physicians, patients and consumers with the latest information about drug risks and benefits.

Scientists drawn from throughout the federal government will make up the board. While their findings will appear on a Web page, the board will not have authority to pull medications from the market. The announcement comes on the eve of a three-day advisory panel hearing into the safety of the pain pills Celebrex, Bextra and Vioxx. All three have been linked to risks of heart attacks or strokes.