No discussion of academic freedom, research integrity, and patient safety could begin with a more disquieting pair of case studies than those of Nancy Olivieri and David Healy. The cumulative impact of the Olivieri and Healy affairs has caused serious self examination within the biomedical research community. The first part of the essay analyses these recent academic scandals. The two case studies are then placed in their historical context—that context being the transformation of the norms of science through increasingly close (...) ties between research universities and the corporate world. After a literature survey of the ways in which corporate sponsorship has biased the results of clinical drug trials, two different strategies to mitigate this problem are identified and assessed: a regulatory approach, which focuses on managing risks associated with industry funding of university research, and a more radical approach, the sequestration thesis, which counsels the outright elimination of corporate sponsorship. The reformist approach is criticised and the radical approach defended. (shrink)
A recent study by Olivieri et al, published in PLOS ONE, reports that between 2009 and 2015 a third of patients with thalassaemia in Canada’s largest hospital were switched from first-line licensed drugs to regimens of deferiprone, an unlicensed drug of unproven safety and efficacy. Based on retrospective data from patient records, the PLOS Study reports that patients treated with deferiprone, either as monotherapy or in combination with first-line drugs, suffered serious adverse effects. The data reported by Olivieri et al (...) give rise to a number of ethical issues. These ethical issues are identified, placed in historical context and analysed. For purposes of this analysis, reliance is placed on two core principles of research ethics, harm minimisation and informed consent, and also on the hospital’s mission statement. Then a mystery is explored: How and why did it happen that Toronto’s University Health Network treated large numbers of patients with an unlicensed drug over a period of many years? ‘Institutional conflict of interest’ is considered as a possible explanatory hypothesis. All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. (shrink)
The ethics of experimentation on human subjects has become the subject of much debate among medical scientists and philosophers. Ethical problems and conflicts of interest become especially serious when research subjects are recruited from the class of patients. Are patients who are ill and suffering in a position to give voluntary and informed consent? Are there inevitable conflicts of interest and moral obligation when a personal physician recruits his own patients for an experiment designed partly to advance scientific knowledge and (...) only partly as therapy for those patients? The views of the eminent American ethicist Hans Jonas on these issues are briefly summarised and criticised, and some moral guidelines are then proposed to regulate experimentation on human subjects. (shrink)
This book is based upon a lecture series that took place between September 2013 and May 2014 to inaugurate the new Canadian Museum for Human Rights. It brings together some of the most influential contemporary thinkers on the theory and practice of human rights.
This study analyzes the ideals of responsibility and accountability, asking such questions as when it is legitimate to blame top officials of an organization for mistakes made by personnel below them in the bureaucratic hierarchy; when things go wrong in a large and complex organization like the Canadian Forces, who is responsible and accountable; and whether a plea of ignorance is a good excuse. The study also analyzes the doctrine of ministerial responsibility in both the British and Canadian parliamentary traditions, (...) asking whether it is realistic to expect that a government minister should be held responsible for everything that goes wrong in his/her department. Finally, traditional military values are examined, considering the kinds of attitudes and values expected from Canada's armed forces and the differences between the military and civilian sectors. (shrink)
The political mobilization of conservative Protestants in the United States since the 1970s is commonly viewed as having resulted from a “backlash” against the alleged iniquities of the 1960s, including the excess-es of the counterculture. In contrast, this article maintains that conservative Protestant efforts to infiltrate and absorb the counterculture contributed to the organizational strength, cultural attractiveness, and politi-cal efficacy of the New Christian Right. The essay advances three arguments: First, that evangelicals did not simply reject the countercultural ideas of (...) the 1960s, but absorbed and extended its key sentiments. Second, that conservative Protestantism’s appropriation of countercultural rhetoric and organizational styles played a significant role in the right-wing political mobilization of evangelicals. And third, that the merger of evan-gelical Christianity and countercultural styles, rather than their antagonism, ended up being one of the most enduring legacies of the sixties. In revisiting the relationship between the counterculture and evangelicalism, the essay also explores the larger implications for understanding the relationship between religion and poli-tics. The New Christian Right domesticated genuinely insurgent impulses within the evangelical resurgence. By the same token, it nurtured the conservative components of the counterculture. Conservative Protestant-ism thus constituted a political movement that channeled insurgencies into a cultural form that relegitimized the fundamental trajectories of liberal capitalism and consumerist society. (shrink)