China vows to clamp down on academic fraud amid medical journal scandal

BMJ 2017; 357: j2970
Author: Jane Parry
“China’s Ministry of Science and Technology has said that it is investigating the case of 107 papers from China retracted by the journal Tumor Biology in April this year and that it has “zero tolerance” for academic fraud. The papers were retracted after the journal’s publisher, Springer, conducted a manual screening that showed that the authors had submitted papers with fake email addresses for reviewers.”
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Not Just About Consent: The Ethical Dimensions of Research Methodology Knowledge in IRBs

JME Blog, 15 June 2017
Author: Sarah Wieten
“The recent article, “Some Social Scientists Are Tired of Asking for Permission” in the New York Times inspired a great deal of debate about the role of institutional research ethics board (IRB) oversight in social science, which some argue is in most cases unlikely to involve significant harm to participants.”
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No evidence that $40,000 ‘miracle’ drug cures hepatitis C

Daily Mail, 9 June 2017
Author: Cheyenne Roundtree
“A medicine hailed as a ‘miracle’ drug that could eliminate hepatitis C may not actually cure the disease, a study claims. Sick patients were offered hope with a new $40,000 direct-acting antiviral drug, which boasted it could clear the virus from the blood within 12 weeks.
The staggering price of the medicine was worth it to some because the contagious liver disease can lead to cancer and death. Now researchers claim that although the drug may rid the blood of the virus there is no valid evidence that it completely rids the body of the infection.”
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Merck & Co. Halts Enrollment in Two Keytruda Trials, Citing Deaths

GEN, 13 June 2017
Source: Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News
“Merck & Co. said it has stopped enrollment in two Phase III trials assessing its cancer immunotherapy Keytruda® (pembrolizumab) in combination with other therapies to treat multiple myeloma, following reports of patient deaths. Patients currently enrolled in the two studies will continue to receive treatment, Merck said, adding that its other clinical studies of Keytruda will continue unchanged.”
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Millions of dollars’ worth of research in limbo at NIH

The Washington Post, 4 June 2017
Author: Lenny Bernstein
“The leadership at the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders has banned the use of data collected over 25 years from more than 1,000 volunteers in the lab of neurologist Allen R. Braun, citing “serious and widespread” record-keeping errors, all of them clerical matters related to forms used for matters such as screening volunteers or logging physical exams.”
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Junior doctor is struck off over false research claims

BMJ 2017; 357: j2637
Author: Clare Dyer
“A junior doctor who was suspended for dishonesty in 2011 has been struck off after making false claims in an abstract for a conference presentation. Harman Mattu, who qualified at the University of London in 2006, told “blatant lies” in an abstract for presentation at an Imperial College clinical education conference, a medical practitioners tribunal heard.”
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The Voluntary Nature of Decision-Making in Addiction: Static Metaphysical Views Versus Epistemologically Dynamic Views

Bioethics, 31: 349–359. 2017. doi:10.1111/bioe.12356
Authors: Racine, E. and Rousseau-Lesage, S.
“The degree of autonomy present in the choices made by individuals with an addiction, notably in the context of research, is unclear and debated. Some have argued that addiction, as it is commonly understood, prevents people from having sufficient decision-making capacity or self-control to engage in choices involving substances to which they have an addiction. Others have criticized this position for being too radical and have counter-argued in favour of the full autonomy of people with an addiction. Aligning ourselves with middle-ground positions between these two extremes, we flesh out an account of voluntary action that makes room for finer-grained analyses than the proposed all-or-nothing stances, which rely on a rather static metaphysical understanding of the nature of the voluntariness of action.”
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Yes, Drug Laws Absolutely Hurt HIV Prevention and Treatment

NewsWeek, 17 May 2017
Author: Jessica Wapner
“When it comes to HIV risk factors, IV drug use is catching up to sex. Among people who inject drugs, an estimated 13 percent have HIV. About 30 percent of new infections outside of sub-Saharan Africa are the result of sticking dirty needles into vulnerable veins. In 2014, more than half of new HIV infections in Eastern Europe and central Asia were due to drugs. In the Middle East and northern Africa, nearly one-third of infections occurred by this route. A newly published report in Lancet HIV confirms the long-suspected assertion that the war on drugs is only making matters worse. The study provides concrete evidence that drug laws are harmful to preventing and treating HIV.”
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J&J Loses $110 Million Verdict Over Talc Cancer-Link Claim

Bloomberg, 5 May 2017
Authors: Margaret Cronin Fisk, Tim Bross
“Johnson & Johnson was ordered by a St. Louis jury to pay more than $110 million to a Virginia woman who blamed her ovarian cancer on the company’s talcum products. Imerys Talc America, which provided the talc to J&J, was ordered by the jury to pay about $100,000. Imerys Talc is a unit of Paris-based Imerys SA. There are more than 3,000 lawsuits accusing the world’s largest health-care company of ignoring studies linking its baby powder and Shower to Shower talc products to ovarian cancer and failing to warn customers about the risk.”
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Pfizer to give out breast cancer drug free while awaiting NHS decision

The Guardian, 5 May 2017
Author: Haroon Siddique
“A drug described as one of the most important advances in treating breast cancer in the past 20 years is to be given to women in the UK for free while the medicines regulator decides whether it should be available on the NHS. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s provisional decision in February that palbociclib should not be routinely funded on the NHS in England was decried by patients but its final appraisal has been paused for the drug manufacturer Pfizer to present further clinical data. In the meantime, Pfizer has said it will make palbociclib available free of charge.”
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