Scientific Misconduct Blog Memory Hole: Events of November 2nd
8 years ago today: Lipstick on the BSE gorilla
On 2 November 1999
it was revealed that the UK government knew for years that some expensive cosmetics used bovine cow spleen, thymus or placenta (known to carry the agent causing Mad Cow Disease) and might infect people with cuts, scratches or abrasions. Experiments using mice showed that it was possible to infect them through skin cuts. Government made a deliberate decision not to inform the public to avoid an "unjustified fuss" and failed to ask what new bovine offal products were in the pipeline.
It seems to me unlikely this would be a major source of risk, and in retrospect it was less of a problem than some imagined. But the difficulty remains - why does government imagine that it has a legitimate role in suppression of scientific information and public discourse in this sort of paternalistic manner? A regulatory system should be a conduit for transparency, not a filter.
It is a bit like driving drunk - most of the time you will be OK, but just occasionally there will be an almighty crash."Officials kept quiet over possible BSE risk from cosmetics" The Guardian Nov 2 1999
3 years ago today: FDA publishes David Graham's Vioxx report
On 2 November 2004
the FDA posted an abridged version of study conducted by Dr. David J. Graham, associate director for science in the FDA's office of drug safety.
The report, was dated September 30 2004.
(the same day Merck withdrew Vioxx from the market).
Dr Graham managed to maintain his integrity within the FDA despite tremendous odds.
He refused to collude with the hiding of data.
2 years ago today: "Lilly is hiding information about Zyprexa"
On 2 November 2005
an interview with Dr. Curt Furberg was published (in Swedish) by the Swedish Academy of Pharmaceutical Sciences (SAPS). Furberg is Professor of Public Health Sciences Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. In the interview he revealed that (translated):
"Lilly is hiding negative information about Zyprexa." Furberg had seen secret Eli Lilly documents about the antipsychotic Zyprexa (olanzapine) in his capacity as an expert witness. "The big problem is that the industry knows about adverse effects not reported to the FDA, not to doctors, not to patients".
Followup: The secret Lilly documents were eventually revealed to the public in 2007.Source: "Lilly is Hiding Negative Information About Zyprexa" - SAPS (in Swedish)
Labels: Dr David Graham, FDA, The Memory Hole