Thursday, May 31, 2007

NIH creates and confers new AID research awards

This is a little late in hitting the usually up-to-the-moment HealthLawBlog (!), but it's still worth noting. NIH has created the NIH World AIDS Day Awards to recognize truly brilliant, trail-blazing work by researchers and program managers whose contributions to AIDS research have probably saved the lives of millions. One of the recipients this past year was Bob Yarchoan (who, I am proud to say, was a college classmate of mine). Here's what the award citation said about Bob:

A joint award to Robert Yarchoan, M.D. and Hiroaki Mitsuya, M.D., Ph.D. of the National Cancer Institute — for their individual and combined achievements, groundbreaking discoveries and innovative and original scientific contributions that have significantly advanced HIV treatment research. Their landmark clinical studies, demonstrating that AZT could result in partial restoration of the immune response and temporary clinical benefit, established the first treatment for HIV infection and launched the era of effective therapy for HIV/AIDS. Their work significantly advanced this field, directly impacting on the development of new and better strategies to prevent and treat HIV disease in this country and around the world.

Congratulations, Bob!
posted by Tom Mayo, 10:15 PM | link

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

China's ex-regulator of food and drug gets death penalty

And I thought we took food and drug regulation pretty seriously over here! This is from the AP (courtesy of The Boston Globe), and thanks for the tip to Peter Leibold, the EVP at American Health Lawyers Association:

China's former top drug regulator was sentenced to death Tuesday for taking bribes to approve untested medicines, as the country's main quality control agency announced its first recall system targeting unsafe food products.

The developments are among the most dramatic steps Beijing has publicly taken to address domestic and international alarm over shoddy and unsafe Chinese goods -- from pet food ingredients and toothpaste mixed with industrial chemicals to tainted antibiotics.

The Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People's Court convicted Zheng Xiaoyu for taking bribes in cash and gifts worth more than $832,000 when he was director of the State Food and Drug Administration, the official Xinhua News Agency said. The court then issued the death penalty, the report said.

posted by Tom Mayo, 1:19 AM | link

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Dutch reality tv: who will get my kidney?

According to AP this morning (courtesy of the Chicago Sun-Times), the BNN television network in The Netherlands plans to go forward with its reality program, "Big Donor Show," in which a terminally ill 37-year-old woman will interview and choose from among three transplant candidates. The network says they intend the show to serve as a public-service message about the number of Dutch patients (2,000) who die each year while waiting for a kidney transplant. Really? It's not about the cruel exploitation of desperate, dying people in order to boost ratings? Really? Really?
posted by Tom Mayo, 8:36 AM | link

Monday, May 28, 2007

Emergency research protocols expand

It was controversial when the FDA amended its version of the Common Rule (21 CFR Part 50) in 1996 to add a provision that allows for emergency research when true informed consent isn't possible (§ 50.24) -- the first time human subjects could be legally enrolled in research without their consent. The FDA defended the move as a modest exception for the relatively rare instances in which research would be stymied because of the impossibility of obtaining consent that would otherwise be required. As an article in yesterday's Washington Post makes clear, such research is getting considerably less rare, renewing the decade-old debate about whether the FDA's exception is really needed or is encouraging, as BU's George Annas says, " lazy investigators not wanting to try to get informed consent in situations where it is difficult to get it, so they say it is impossible."

Department of full disclosure: I have been a member of a consultation group in Dallas in connection with the emergency research discussed in this article ("Clinical Trial of the Active Compression-Decompression (ACD) and Inspiratory Threshold Valve (ITV) Devices vs Standard CPR").
posted by Tom Mayo, 8:50 AM | link

Health care law (including public health law, medical ethics, and life sciences), with digressions into constitutional law, poetry, and other things that matter