Thursday, February 17, 2011

TODAY: Schmitt Lecture with Dr. Carl Elliott

At 4 p.m. today in McKenna Hall, Dr. Carl Elliott will deliver the spring Schmitt Lecture, "A Clinical Trial, A Suicide, and the Strange Recent History of Anti-Psychotic Drugs." When a young man committed suicide in an industry-sponsored clinical trial of atypical antipsychotic drugs at the University of Minnesota in 2004, critics charged that he had been coerced into the study. They may be right, but the ethical problem is even larger. Today pharmaceutical companies are designing and analyzing clinical trials not to produce reliable scientific data, but to ensure that their own drugs look superior to the competition. These trials are published in peer-reviewed scientific journals and distributed by drug reps as a way of marketing the drugs. Which raises the question: when is it ethically justified to enroll human subjects in marketing studies?

A reception will follow after the lecture.

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