Ethics

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Category archives for Ethics

A scientific ethics of code

I’m a scientist and my research is supported by NIH, i.e., by American taxpayers. More importantly, the science I do is for anyone to use. I claim no proprietary rights. That’s what science is all about. We make our computer code publicly available, not just by request, but posted on the internet, and it is…

Cuba, swine flu and the embargo

When swine flu began there was a hue and cry in some quarters to shut the border to prevent the virus from taking root in the US. It seems fairly clear, now, that by the time we detected the virus, in late April, it had already situated itself in the US — assuming that it…

Swine flu prisoner’s dilemma

Via Crof’s blog (invaluable, as always) I learned of the decision of Massachusetts state health officials to vaccinate state prisoners before the rest of the population:

In an earlier post I said I opposed mandatory vaccination for adults (but not for children), the one exception being for health care workers because they come in contact with people at high risk. My view then was that if you work in a health care institution and won’t get vaccinated against flu, then you…

Once more on the vaccine question

There’s hopeful news about the possibility of an effective HIV/AIDS vaccine and a weird story from Canada about “preliminary results” saying that you are more at risk from swine flu if you get the seasonal flu vaccine. With flu, anything is possible, but that is more than a little counterintuitive and strikes me as unlikely.…

People complain that ministers in the cabinet Iran’s recently selected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government will say things so outlandish no one else would even think of saying them, but Declan Butler over at the Nature blog, The Great Beyond, begs to differ. Take Iran’s Science Minister, Kamran Daneshjou. Daneshjou’s credentials had been questioned in an…

Chuck Grassley’s feet of clay

We’ve been rather kind to Senator Charles (Chuck) Grassley in the past. Yes, he’s a right wing Republican with some really odious ideas, ideas for which he deserves to be criticized. But he’s also been a champion of the Federal False Claims Act which has encouraged and protected whistleblowers to reveal how corporations have taken…

Ethics sting in Big Pharma country

As an academic epidemiologist I routinely do NIH funded research involving human subjects. That means my university must adhere to very strict regulations and guidelines for the protection of research subjects. Approval and monitoring of the ethical conduct of research funded by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), of which NIH is a…

Tufts University is the latest institution to step in the Conflict of Interest mess and come out with shoes that smell. The University had organized a conference on conflict of interest in medicine and research, with Iowa’s Republican Senator Charles Grassley as the keynoter. Grassley has been an indefatigable crusader against instances of fraud and…

The Conflict of Interest talk these days is all about doctors and medical school lecturers who are in bed with Big Pharma, but the bed is pretty crowded. Researchers are there, too. Not that this hasn’t been a topic of conversation. And not that researchers aren’t conscious of it and frantically trying to distance themselves…