6 years ago today: Report into the case of Nancy OlivieriOn 26 October 2001 the Committee of Inquiry into the dispute involving Dr. Nancy Olivieri, the Hospital for Sick Children, the University of Toronto, and Apotex Inc. issued their landmark report (compulsory reading for all those who pretend to be concerned about academic fraud).
"The Hospital and the University should have defended vigorously the right of clinical researchers to disclose risks to research subjects and patients. They had a responsibility to protect the public interest and academic freedom from inappropriate actions by Apotex, but they did not do so".
The committee's report contains 31 recommendations, including:
- Contracts involving industrial sponsorship of clinical research should never prevent researchers from informing patients or the scientific community of any risks.
- All universities and affiliated teaching hospitals should have in place policies and practices that are effective in protecting academic freedom, as well as principles of research and clinical ethics.
- Health Canada should review the current regulation of health research and make appropriate changes to protect the public interest and the rights of patients who volunteer to be subjects of research.
- The University and the Hospital should provide redress to Dr. Olivieri for the unfair treatment she has received.
The public interest is not served by allowing academic institutions to investigate and exonerate themselves with impunity.
A further article by Karen Birmingham (2000. Nature Medicine 6, 609-610) summarized the 9 page Report of a panel investigating Gideon Koren signed by the University of Toronto President, Robert Prichard.
"Being an accomplished medical researcher and teacher is sufficient to excuse behavior that includes destroying institutional equipment, harassing colleagues and lying to them and to superiors - at least at the University of Toronto and at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto."
- The Olivieri Report (2001)
- See The Olivieri Case: Context and Reflections (Ecclectica, Dec 2005)
- Defending Medicine: Clinical Faculty and Academic Freedom (2004)
- A Schafer, Biomedical conflicts of interest: a defence of the sequestration thesis—learning from the cases of Nancy Olivieri and David Healy, J Med Ethics 2004; 30: 8-24. doi:10.1136/jme.2003.005702
- Scullduggery : "L'affaire Olivieri" by Donald Forsdyke