Los Angeles Times Editorial Calls for Clinical Trial Safeguards
The federal government has "poured hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars" into clinical trials of new prescription drugs to defend against bioterrorist attacks but "should be equally eager to ensure that people are not hurt in the rush to protect the public," a Los Angeles Times editorial states. According to the editorial, the government must "fix obvious flaws" in the 1991 Common Rule, which established guidelines for research on human subjects in government-funded trials conducted by 17 federal agencies but not for trials that do not receive government funds. The editorial states that a 1995 report issued by a federal task force and a 2001 report issued by the National Bioethics Advisory Commission both provided "sensible blueprints for reform" of the Common Rule. The NBAC report, for example, called for an extension of the rule to "all government agencies, academe and the private sector." The editorial concludes, "There is no reason why Washington cannot encourage more private investment in anti-terrorism research while demanding that scientists fully inform and offer strong protections to every human guinea pig who heroically volunteers to test lifesaving chemical and bioterrorism antidotes" (Los Angeles Times, 10/30).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.