“SUPPORT and the Question of What It Means to Do Bioethics”

June 27, 2013 · by impact ethics · in Health Research, Impact Ethics, Research Ethics
“Alice Dreger explains why the battle being waged among bioethicists over the SUPPORT trial is not just about research ethics. It’s also very much about the “profession” of Bioethics.”
“But it would be naïve to conclude that the battle being waged in the NEJM over SUPPORT by the two large groups of bioethicists is only about medical science, regulation, and research ethics. I think it’s pretty clear: the battle is also over Bioethics. It is a battle over a “profession” that still lacks a clear identity but that has been starting to see a tense coalescing of two basic types: those who stand ready to defend the medical/research industrial complex; and those who stand ready to fight that complex to defend patients, medical research subjects, and industry-resisting doctors and researchers.”

From the Support FAQ:
So it was a bad trial to do?

“Actually, it was a really important trial to do. We badly need studies like SUPPORT. The hard truth is that—even in areas as critical as neonatal intensive care—too many medical interventions are still based on thin science. That’s not because clinicians like it that way; it’s because good clinical science is hard to do. Studies like SUPPORT offer us the hope of finding out—by randomizing subjects and controlling for variables—what really helps or harms.”

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