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Why a Lot of Important Research Is Not Being Done

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  • Why a Lot of Important Research Is Not Being Done

    We have already talking about how Corporates and Lobbies can stall/hinder Science. Here is one. The examples (i was not familiar with) are speaking volume. Food for thoughts about the balance of power of Corporations versus single or small teams of scientists

    Extracts :

    Lawsuits have an intimidating effect on an already difficult enterprise.

    We have a dispiriting shortage of high-quality health research for many reasons, including the fact that it’s expensive, difficult and time-intensive. But one reason is more insidious: Sometimes groups seek to intimidate and threaten scientists, scaring them off promising work.
    The area I complain about most, though, concerns nutrition, including supplements. That domain allows us to focus on another type of intimidation: lawsuits.
    In 2013, scientists at the Food and Drug Administration published a study in The Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis showing that nine brands of dietary supplements sold in the United States contained a synthetic analogue of amphetamine. The authors noted that the efficacy and safety of this stimulant, β-methylphenylethylamine (BMPEA), had never been studied in humans.
    A year later, Canadian health authorities recalled supplements containing the stimulant, noting the potential for “serious cardiovascular complications.” The F.D.A., inexplicably, remained silent. The agency did not warn the public, recall products or warn manufacturers.
    Dr. Pieter Cohen, an associate professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, replicated aspects of the 2013 study and came to the same conclusion as the F.D.A. experts: The stimulant was available in multiple brands of supplements, and a comprehensive review of the biomedical and chemistry literature found not a single scientific study of the stimulant’s efficacy or safety in humans. These results were published in Drug Testing and Analysis in 2015 and widely disseminated by national and international media outlets. Two weeks after that, the F.D.A. alerted consumers that the stimulant was potentially dangerous and warned manufacturers to remove it from their products.
    One of the companies that received an F.D.A. warning letter, in turn, sued Dr. Cohen for $200 million in damages for libel, alleging that statements in the peer review article, and subsequent interviews with the media, were false. The company asserted, without supporting scientific evidence, that while the article said the stimulant was not “natural,” it had extracted it from a Mexican shrub. Company officials also claimed they had evidence of the stimulant’s efficacy and safety in humans. The lawsuit, initially filed in Georgia, was dismissed because of lack of jurisdiction there, then refiled in federal court in Massachusetts.
    During the lawsuit’s discovery phase, the supplement company demanded and received access to emails related to the study, including those with co-authors, journal editors, the F.D.A., outside experts and the news media. The company also demanded and received all revisions of the manuscript, as well as peer reviewers’ comments and the authors’ responses. Despite the absence of evidence of wrongdoing, the judge allowed the case to go to trial.
    Dr. Cohen got entangled in what legal scholars call a strategic lawsuit against public participation, or Slapp. Anti-Slapp laws are intended to prevent people from using courts, and even the threat of a lawsuit, to intimidate people who are exercising their First Amendment rights. But in Dr. Cohen’s case, the court refused to give full weight to Massachusetts’ anti-Slapp statute on the ground that dismissing the case would undermine the supplement company’s constitutional right to a jury trial.

    Lawsuits like these are too common in health research.

    The manufacturer of a hip protector sued a researcher in 2008 over a study published in JAMA that showed the device didn’t prevent fractures. The C.E.O. of a pharmaceutical company sued a researcher who led his data monitoring committee when the researcher published a 2011 article in Annals of Internal Medicine disputing the way the C.E.O. had described a study’s results.
    Another article on the subject :

    This is a worrying trend

  • #2
    We are all going to be dead anyway before 2050 because humanity's stupidity, selfishness and greed outstrips rational thought.


    • #3
      Originally posted by Fred333 View Post
      We are all going to be dead anyway before 2050 because humanity's stupidity, selfishness and greed outstrips rational thought.
      That's not rational thinking.


      • #4
        Originally posted by RobertKLR View Post

        That's not rational thinking.
        Exactly what I mean!