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“The Deadly Corruption of Clinical Trials” January 8, 2011

Filed under: Pharma — aprasek @ 12:53 am

Carl Elliott’s article, “The Deadly Corruption of Clinical Trials” is a must read. Seriously. Here’s a teaser:

In 2003, Mary’s 26-year-old son, Dan, was enrolled against her wishes in a psychiatric drug study at the University of Minnesota, where I teach medical ethics. Less than six months later, Dan was dead. I’d learned about his death from a deeply unsettling newspaper series by St. Paul Pioneer Press reporters Jeremy Olson and Paul Tosto that suggested he was coerced into a pharmaceutical-industry study from which the university stood to profit, but which provided him with inadequate care. Over the next few months, I talked to several university colleagues and administrators, trying to learn what had happened. Many of them dismissed the story as slanted and incomplete. Yet the more I examined the medical and court records, the more I became convinced that the problem was worse than the Pioneer Press had reported. The danger lies not just in the particular circumstances that led to Dan’s death, but in a system of clinical research that has been thoroughly co-opted by market forces, so that many studies have become little more than covert instruments for promoting drugs. The study in which Dan died starkly illustrates the hazards of market-driven research and the inadequacy of our current oversight system to detect them. 

It’s pretty amazing to think that Elliott had the courage to call out his employer like this (he teaches at the U of MN). And I suppose a shred of kudos to the U of MN for not firing Elliott…

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One Response to ““The Deadly Corruption of Clinical Trials””

  1. Tom Says:

    I remember the article from the Pioneer a couple years ago. Can’t believe there’s even more to the story. I’ll read it now and will likely be back on a soap box about how deceiving pharm research is 😉


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