Stark’s Medical Research Ethics OpEd Published in L.A. Times

In an Oct. 8 The Los Angeles Times OpEd titled “Gaps in medical research ethics,” Laura Stark, assistant professor of science in society, assistant professor of sociology, assistant professor of environmental studies, explains flaws in the current research review system in the United States. On the heels of a U.S. apology for medical research in Guatemala, the U.S. now has on opportunity to overhaul ethics rules.

Stark shows how the ethics review process enabled the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to use federal prisoners in experiments during the 1960s. The prisoners were infected with “pneumonia, influenza and the common cold, as well as simian-virus 40, which had contaminated batches of polio vaccine given to millions of Americans.” Attention to where our present-day ethics came from shows the flaw in our current system.