Wednesday, March 15, 2006

More on Fake Blood and Research Ethics

A few days ago, I posted about some sketchy ethical practices in a clinical trial that's been testing fake blood without people's consent in 18 states. Well, it looks like things may get more interesting with that soon: Senator Charles Grassley has called on the FDA to tell the public (a) what's happening with this study and (b) how potential benefits of this blood substitute could outweigh the risks ... He called the trial unethical and said it never should have been approved. Grassley is accusing the FDA of disregarding their responsibility to "protect the public health," and saying the burden of opting-out shouldn't be on the public. "Equally outrageous," he said, "is the FDA's apparent failure to ensure that communities are fully aware of the risks, benefits, and nature of this experiment." I'm eager to hear their response.

For more information on all of this, see two publications from the ever-impressive American Journal of Bioethics -- their recent open letter to IRBs and their piece about race and Polyheme launched the media coverage of this issue and finally brought these questions to the public's attention. Bravo to them.

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