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    Forum Posts by
    Carl Elliott

    • Getting By with a Little Help from Your Friends

      Posted on October 18, 2013

      If the mutilated body of one of your research subjects is discovered in a blood-soaked bathroom, who should investigate the death?  If you want to be cleared of blame, it’s useful if the investigation is led by a colleague from your own department.  If you were being paid by a drug company to recruit that… Read more

    • Shame and Guilt in Minnesota

      Posted on April 24, 2013

      Over the past month, a petition asking the governor of Minnesota to investigate a research scandal at the University of Minnesota has been steadily gathering momentum.  The scandal in question originated in 2004 with the suicide of Dan Markingson in an AstraZeneca-funded study of antipsychotics. The petition to investigate the scandal is backed by a number of… Read more

    • How the FDA Got the Markingson Case Wrong

      Posted on March 2, 2011

      During the years after Dan Markingson committed suicide in an industry-sponsored drug study at the University of Minnesota, his mother looked for justice anywhere she could find it. Mary Weiss wrote countless letters and e-mails; she filed a lawsuit against the university and the study sponsor; along with her friend, Mike Howard, she sent out… Read more

    • Walk it Off, Crybaby

      Posted on October 13, 2010

      On a recent installment of This American Life, Ira Glass asks this pressing question. Why are rich and powerful people so often the world’s biggest crybabies? Exhibit A: the whining of Wall Street bankers and brokers, who have worked themselves into a frenzy of self-pity over the cosmically unfair manner in which they are being… Read more

    • Samples

      Posted on January 14, 2008

      When my brothers and I were growing up in South Carolina in the 70s, the only reason to go to the drugstore was for ice cream. If we needed medicine, my father, a family doctor, would go to a cabinet in our utility room. That cabinet served as our personal branch office of the drug… Read more

    • How the APA Stole Christmas

      Posted on December 22, 2006

      When philosophy job-seekers hear the phrase, “It’s that time of year again,” they don’t think of the holidays. They don’t think of Christmas, or family gatherings, or anything remotely associated with tidings of comfort and joy. For young philosophers on the job market, December means the annual ritual of anxiety and humiliation known as American… Read more

    • Paxil’s Ghost

      Posted on December 12, 2006

      When the FDA’s Psychopharmacologic Drugs Advisory Committee holds its public hearing on December 13 to consider yet again the possible links between suicidality and the SSRI/SNRI antidepressants, one distinguished member of the advisory committee will be Dr. Bruce Pollock. Pollock used to be on the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh, but last year he… Read more

    • How Not to Deal with Pharma

      Posted on June 7, 2006

      Ethicists looking for textbook examples of how universities ought not to behave in the face of pharmaceutical industry muscle-flexing might be interested in the case of Dr. Aubrey Blumsohn, who was until recently a senior lecturer in the Bone Metabolism Unit at Sheffield University. Among Sheffield’s pharmaceutical funders was Proctor and Gamble. Blumsohn performed clinical… Read more

    • Nietzsche Wears an Earpiece

      Posted on May 15, 2006

      Ah, if only sound bites really were like aphorisms, as Tod Chambers believes. Then every time we spent ten minutes on the phone with a reporter we would be following in the footsteps of Nietzsche and Wittgenstein. In fact, however, a sound bite is more like a miniature press release, and those of us who… Read more

    • The Straight Dope on Medical News

      Posted on April 25, 2006

      Ever wonder just how bad the American news media really are when it comes to reporting on new medical treatments? Have a look at, a new on-line service published by Gary Schwitzer, the director of the health journalism graduate program at the University of Minnesota (and, among other things, a former head of the… Read more

    • The Organization Men

      Posted on April 21, 2006

      What is the relationship between professional bioethics and social activism? Bioethics has accumulated many of the trappings of academic life (journals, conferences, Volvos), yet many old-school bioethicists, when asked how they got involved with in the field, will point to the activist movements of the 1960s. Apparently, in an atmosphere thick with social activism, from… Read more

    • The Medicine Show

      Posted on March 27, 2006

      Is there anything in basketball as beautiful as a crisp, clean back-door cut? I admire Jordanesque acrobatics as much as anyone – the astonishing hang-time, the posterizing dunks, the shots pinned to the glass or beaten back ferociously into the stands – but the truth is, anybody can appreciate the highlight reel performances. The real… Read more

    • Thank You Cards for Doctors

      Posted on March 22, 2006

      If you missed the American Medical Association’s commercials for itself during Fox News Live, The O’Reilly Factor or Celebrity Poker Showdown, don’t despair: you can still catch the print ads, which will appear in the April issues of Reader’s Digest and O, The Oprah Magazine. Or even better, go to the AMA website and download… Read more

    • Industry Payola at the FDA

      Posted on March 14, 2006

      You can’t pay the judge who is reviewing your case. You can’t pay the critic who is reviewing your book. Sadly, you can’t even pay the dean who is reviewing your tenure application. But if you work for a pharmaceutical company, you can pay the FDA experts who are reviewing your application to sell a… Read more