Tuesday, October 31, 2006

A Prescription for Trouble

Those of you who attended the ASBH conference in Denver last week may have come to the mock trial of the Law and Bioethics Affinity Group which included marvelous performances by Erin Egan, Judy Illes, Peter Cohen and Katie Watson. Also, a sense of courtroom decorum was greatly enhanced by our two judges, Terry Tomsick and Alice Herb, who did a wonderful job with the rulings, too! The fact pattern involved the use of neuroimaging for purposes of lie detection in a product liability case against a major drug company who marketed a COX-2 inhibitor that increased the chances of serious heart problems.

The irony is that just yesterday, the Managing Editor of Boston magazine, Jennifer Johnson, sent me a link to this article in Boston (about the Vioxx scandal) with an intriguing summary:

Its reports on new drugs put billions in pharmaceutical company profits and untold lives at stake. So it’s a very big deal when the New England Journal of Medicine gets something wrong. With the powerful publication still reeling from a scandal it can’t seem to shake, editor Jeffrey Drazen’s plan for fixing things is less a sure-fire cure than a leap of faith.

It just goes to show what a small world it is (especially when it comes to bioethics)! Thanks, Jennifer


Guy Barry said...

A great blog and very interesting.

BuddhistValkyrie said...

Interesting article... I'm going to mull it whilst sleeping, and then write more about it. I have some issues with NEJM's attitude.

So far as the mock trial goes, I really hope the affinity group will consider writing the experience up in narrative form and publishing (or blogging) it. It was really instructive, especially for someone like moi, who's not at all legally inclined. I had no idea what the process for determining reliability/relevence would be, and seeing how technology is weighed legally (even in a constructed case like Sunday) was instructive.