•April 17, 2015 • Leave a Comment
This is a must-read for anyone interested in the ethics of drug development and clinical trials.
It explores how genuinely bad behaviour on the part of pharmaceutical companies can lead to overreaction by journalists and the public, sometimes with tragic consequences.
By Matthew Herper, writing for Forbes.com: How Marketing And Media Muddled The Truth About The Heart Drug Vytorin
Big bad drug companies make it easy to fall into a kind of conspiracy-thinking mentality. If Roche and Glaxo are going to behave like lying, data-burying scoundrels, their drugs must be useless, right? But, because medicines have to prove themselves in both a regulatory gauntlet and the market, that’s not always so. And we can be misled by that kind of thinking….
•April 14, 2015 • Leave a Comment
From The State Journal-Register (Springfield, IL)
Patient freedom, ethics at the heart of ‘Right to Try’ push in Illinois
Some doctors worry that an effort to grant terminally ill people more access to unproven drugs might offer them false hope or even be harmful, but advocates for a “right to try” say patients should have more opportunities for treatments that could extend their lives.
Legislation with bipartisan support that was approved by Illinois House and Senate committees would create a Right to Try Act, letting patients seek treatments with their doctor’s consultation that have passed only the first phase of U.S. Food and Drug Administration testing…
•April 12, 2015 • Leave a Comment
In this newspaper editorial, a former governor of Minnesota says that the current president of the University of Minnesota needs to go, because of how he has mishandled controversy over research ethics at the university:
Markingson case: University of Minnesota can’t regain trust under current leadership
…During his first year at the university, Kaler had to make a major decision. Prudent management would have involved meeting with Elliott, learning about the specific ethical issues related to Markingson and broader concerns about psychiatric clinical research, and dealing with the growing scandal. But Kaler chose instead to perpetuate the prevailing coverup. He opposed any independent review, never responded to the charges made in the media, ignored or dismissed critics, and stood firm in his belief that it would all blow over.
In so doing, President Kaler tarnished his office and abandoned the principles of truthfulness, openness and integrity….
•April 11, 2015 • Leave a Comment
Here are three related items to bring to your attention:
On the blog of Policy Options magazine, here’s a very good piece by our pal Tim Caulfield, called Homeopathy and the ethics of researching magic. And via the same outlet, here’s my piece in which I partly disagree with Tim: Homeopathy and Research Ethics.
And just recently, An anonymous Canadian foundation grants $3 million to study naturopathic oncology. But such a study could not be done in Canada because it a study funded by an anonymous source would violate the Tri-Council Policy Statement. Page 29 of the Policy Statement makes clear that informed consent must include identity of the funder or sponsor.
•April 6, 2015 • Leave a Comment
This story is pretty much a ‘perfect storm’ of research ethics problems: international research, on vulnerable populations (orphans, prisoners and mental health patients), lack of consent, and questionable institutional responsibility for the actions of now-dead researchers.
From The Guardian: Guatemalans deliberately infected with STDs sue Johns Hopkins University for $1bn
…Nearly 800 plaintiffs have launched a billion-dollar lawsuit against Johns Hopkins University over its alleged role in the deliberate infection of hundreds of vulnerable Guatemalans with sexually transmitted diseases, including syphilis and gonorrhoea, during a medical experiment programme in the 1940s and 1950s….
•August 21, 2014 • Leave a Comment
Following on my recent blog posting about the Facebook emotion-manipulation study, here’s a useful piece from The Atlantic: How Much Should You Know About How Facebook Works?
The piece focuses on the ubiquity of constantly-tweaked algorithms in online services such as Google and Facebook. The algorithms such companies use today are quite different from the ones they used 5 years ago, in part because the companies are constantly experimenting and using the results of those experiments to adjust the “math” behind your Facebook newsfeed and your Google search results.
Cornell professor Jeff Hancock, one of the authors of the infamous study, is quoted as asking: “If you think about Google search and you say, ‘I don’t want to be experimented on,’ then the question is, well, what does that mean?”