Blog : Displaying 998-1001 of 1330

Silencing Science

Posted by Jesse Reynolds on November 25th, 2008

A biotech company is suing a researcher at the National Institutes of Health for defamation after he published results casting one of the company's products in a unflattering light. In April, the NIH's Charles Natanson reported in an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association that five blood substitutes are related to a 30% increase in mortality. Biopure, a company that makes one of the studied substitutes, first asked Natanson to retract his paper, citing flawed methodology. After he declined, Biopure filed suit, accusing him of making "false and defamatory statements."

I was initially frustrated by Biopure's lawsuit and what it may represent. While I don't equate science with constitutionally protected free speech, the open publication of unbiased results is necessary both for technological progress and for protecting people from potential current hazards. Such a lawsuit, if successful or even if Natanson settles out of court, could create an unprecedented and dangerous chilling effect. Unfortunately, this seems likes a logical outcome of three decades of the commercialization of the life sciences.

Yet after I read more details, I became at least partially sympathetic to Biopure's complaint. Most importantly, Natanson had failed to disclose his personal financial interest in a method which could reduce the negative side effects of blood substitutes. It's not out of the question that the commercialization of his own work had biased Natanson, consciously or not. Ideally, the court will be able to sort this.

HT to Integrity in Science Watch.

Previously on Biopolitical Times:

Doing the right thing with DNA forensics

Posted by Osagie Obasagie on November 21st, 2008

Defense attorneys, such as those at the Innocence Project, have been using DNA testing for years to exonerate those who have been wrongly convicted. But, a recent Wall Street Journal article highlights the efforts of Craig Watkins, a Dallas District attorney, who is reviewing old cases and using DNA tests to set the record straight. So far, this has led to six men being cleared of heinous crimes such as murder and rape.

Politics and a lack of resources often play a large role in preventing the thorough review of cases. District Attorneys make their careers by putting people in prison, not setting them free. And dwindling funding often means that crime labs do not have the staff or resources to keep up with current cases let alone review older ones. But, it is certainly heartening to see that at least one D.A. is doing whatever he can to use DNA technologies not only as a tool for conviction, but also as a opportunity for redemption. As Watkins notes, "We have the constitutional obligation to seek justice."

Previously on Biopolitical Times:

A call for "truth in egg-donor advertising"

Posted by Marcy Darnovsky on November 21st, 2008

A columnist for Princeton University's campus newspaper asks, "Did early feminists fight to keep the government out of their ovaries just so the free market could invade?"

Michael Collins reports:

Unfortunately, donors are sometimes misled about the health risks. Doctors working at fertility clinics have a conflict of interest because they are paid by infertile couples but give medical advice to donors. As a result of this conflict of interest, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) has received complaints from donors that they were promised coverage for egg-donation-related medical costs only to find that the coverage was extremely limited or came with high deductibles.

Collins asserts the need for federal regulation to "remedy the lack of available knowledge and limit the influence of a market system." His specific suggestions: establish a national register of egg donors and authorized fertility clinics, set a ceiling on compensation, and require that fertility clinics fully disclose their medical coverage plans. He also calls for college newspapers to "exert greater care in soliciting advertisements" from egg brokers and fertility clinics.

He ends by applying to the egg retrieval situation the lessons recently learned from the Wall Street fiasco:

With a lack of governmental regulation, the current system of free-market driven egg donation is prone to the same neglect and extravagances of Wall Street. The recent economic meltdown should stand as a reminder to the dangers of an unregulated market.

Previously on Biopolitical Times:

Reproductive health journal examines new technologies

Posted by Marcy Darnovsky on November 19th, 2008

The current issue of Contraception, published by the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP), includes an article co-authored by Emily Galpern, project director at CGS's sister organization Generations Ahead. Her co-authors are Jessica Arons of the Center for American Progress, Lee Shulman of Northwestern University, and Jennifer Aulwes and Wayne Shields of ARHP.

"An Evolving Landscape: Reproductive Genetics, New Technologies and Health Care Over the Next Decade" recognizes that reproductive health, rights and justice have "become more complicated and dynamic than ever with the advent of new reproductive technologies." From its conclusion:

Those working within the progressive advocacy landscape are increasingly challenged to develop a nuanced understanding of the benefits and risks of reproductive genetics, and they will have the opportunity over the next several years to advocate for policies that promote reproductive well-being for all individuals and communities.

Displaying 998-1001 of 1330  
< Prev  Next >> 
« First Page Last Page » 
« Show Complete List » 



home | overview | blog | publications | about us | donate | newsletter | press room | privacy policy

CGS • 1120 University Ave, Suite 100, Berkeley, CA 94702 USA • • (p) 1.510.625.0819 • (F) 1.510.665.8760