Research Ethics Roundup: Consent to research buried in a doctor’s form, details on how and why research is conducted on animals, and much more!

On this day in 1817, the New York Stock exchange was founded. In recognition of this historic milestone, this week’s installment features articles on various aspects of the research industry, from relationships with corporate financiers, to maintaining positive public opinion. With so much to learn, we hope that you will invest some time in this week’s Research Ethics Roundup!

Herbalife cozies up with UCLA: This report from the Los Angeles Times investigates an unsettling relationship between the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and nutritional supplement firm, Herbalife. The company has contributed millions of dollars to the public research university, and has even referred to their facilities as “our labs.” In turn, UCLA representatives and employees have endorsed Herbalife products, though it appears no clinical trials have been performed to determine their safety or efficacy.

A closer look at how animal research progresses from idea to study: This post, from the blog Speaking of Research, addresses a perceived lack of public understanding on how research proposals involving animals are formulated, developed, and executed. The author, Allyson Bennett, who will be a keynote speaker at this year’s 2013 Institutional Animal Care and Use Conference, argues that this lack of understanding “serves as an impediment to an informed evaluation of science… and weighs heavily against productive dialogue about core issues of public interest.” Bennett takes the reader step-by-step through the process of conducting research with animals.

Pharma pipeline transparency makes it hard to hide negative clinical trials: This opinion piece from John LaMattina argues that the commonly-held opinion that pharmaceutical companies try to hide negative trial results is bunk. According to the author, increased scrutiny from Wall Street investors, as well as from regulatory agencies, patient advocacy groups, physicians, and the media, has encouraged Big Pharma to increase transparency about research throughout all stages of development.

Should patients understand that they are research subjects?: At a recent doctor’s appointment, article author Jenny Reardon was asked to sign a Terms and Conditions of Service Form, which included an acknowledgement that access to her biological specimens may be given to researchers. This article from the San Francisco Chronicle outlines what consenting to such a condition may mean for a patient.

Looking for more news? PRIM&R members can visit our Knowledge Center to find more recent scholarly journal and popular media articles pertaining to research ethics. Not yet a member? Learn more about becoming a member by visiting our website.