A group advising the Food and Drug Administration on medical issues abruptly dropped four experts from a panel on prescription painkillers after concerns emerged about pharmaceutical-industry ties.

Federal advisers are supposed to be vetted for financial ties that can influence their judgment. Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon had sent a letter Friday saying two of the panel nominees have also served in professional societies that receive funding from drugmakers. Wyden has protested industry influence on FDA expert panels before.

The changes were announced during the panel's first meeting in Washington on Wednesday.

One of the experts, Dr. Gregory Terman, says he was dismissed Tuesday afternoon by phone. He says he was told the decision was because his non-profit group receives funding from drugmakers.

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