An ethicist walks into a bar…

… it hits them in the shins, as they made no effort to step over it. Annoyed, they claim that the bar used to be lower, and if it’s to be raised then they must be the ones giving approval to do so.

I submitted a manuscript detailing efforts to expose three cases of medical research fraud and misconduct (a fabricated conclusion at odds with the data; a scam funded by NHMRC; and a buried trial of antidepressants in Heart Failure – using a drug that worsens HF) to three journals. It was rejected by Dr Sarah Edwards of ‘Research Ethics’; Dr Shamoo of ‘Accountability in Research’; and Israel, Allen & Thomson of ‘Research Ethics Monthly’. One case was conceded by the University HREC as a one-off mistake, all others stonewalled.

The Cochrane Collaboration claims to be impartial in their scrutiny of such, biased studies. For two years I’ve fruitlessly raised a concern that the Professor heading their Pain and Palliative Support group was on the Pfizer payroll, but after including evidence that two other groups include analyses by authors secreting industry sponsorship there was a response. Governance officer Veronica Bonfigli onsent the issue to the Integrity Editors.

That was six weeks ago.

Their gold standard is more apt a description of monetary reward, than of excellence.

Token displays of integrity are seen everywhere that collectives are formed to take responsibility for adherence – no worse an example then the Vatican. Altruistic priests, like committed doctors, are constrained by their hierarchy. Their walled city of committees provides cover for a multitude of sins.
I’m a novice, having learned only from my mistakes, failures of integrity. Inspiration comes from Padmasiri De Silva’s book, An introduction to Buddhist Psychology and Counselling: “The replacement of genuine moral reflection by procedures and protocols finally paralyses people’s capacity for moral reflection“. It’s a superb work, even though overladen with Pali (Sanskrit-like) terms – since many concepts haven’t an acceptable English translation.

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