Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Kiwis consider a Sunshine Act

These New Zealand doctors want a little sunshine on pharma payments to doctors.

Homeless man sues Novartis for deceptive clinical trial

Now here's a story you don't see very often. (Ever, in fact.)

A former clinical trials subject is suing Swiss pharma giant Novartis, alleging the company was not honest with participants about what they were being tested for. 

The case dates back to 2007, when Novartis hired a company in Poland to test a vaccine for bird flu following the Europe-wide outbreak of the H5N1 virus. The trials were carried out on homeless and poor people in the Polish city of Grudziadz, where they were paid around two francs for participation. 

But one former subject, named as Grzegorz S, says participants were told the vaccine was for the conventional flu virus, and he has launched a civil suit against the Basel-based company.

According to consumer magazine Beobachter, the man had no idea that the vaccination was administered as part of a clinical trial. "I never agreed to be used as a guinea pig. If I had known what the vaccinations were, I would not have participated," he told the magazine. 

The puzzle in this story comes later.  This paragraph suggests that subjects died in the trial, but the relationship between the deaths and the trial is unclear.

After the tests, the director of one Grudziadz homeless centre, Mieczyslaw Waclawski, told a Polish newspaper that 21 people from the centre had died. While the deaths were not conclusively linked to participation in the trial, the figure was a significant rise from the average of around eight.

A criminal case into the trials was concluded in Poland earlier in 2017, with three doctors and six nurses charged, though Novartis was not put under investigation in connection with that case.

What is meant by an "average" of eight deaths?  Could 21 homeless people have actually died in this trial?

This calls for more investigation. Watch this space.

Monday, July 24, 2017

“We are outraged and disgusted by this individual’s behavior."

Now that the Dean of the USC medical school is making headlines for his meth habit and late-night activities, USC President Max Nikias is outraged and disgusted.  So outraged and disgusted that he's actually willing to talk to reporters now -- which is a big change from when he returned a letter from reporters requesting an interview unopened, by courier.   He ignored their questions for a full year. You've got to admit a kind of grudging admiration for that. How many top-level administrators would feel so confident they could stick their head in the sand for so long without suffocating?

What everyone is probably wondering right now is how long it will take for patients whose eyes were operated on by Dean Meth during that year to contact their lawyers. 

Attention journalists: The Mayo Clinic wants to buy your love

I wonder what the bioethicists at the Mayo have to say about this one.

Warning: easily startled police on patrol

At Cedar and Riverside.