April 17th, 2004
To the Editor,
The experimental method begins with a hypothesis and then seeks evidence which conclusively proves or disproves it. When scientific conclusions attain the status of proprietary information, all semblance to scientific research is ended. It is transformed into market research with a distinct bias and purpose other than fact finding. It is then all about profit, which is fine if one is deciding between two styles of cocktail dresses to manufacture. It is not fine when determining if your son or daughter will benefit from taking a drug designed to improve their lives, not end them.
Facts are not proprietary but belong to the body of scientific knowledge. Information relevant to a product owned by a corporation or individual can only be a fact if released along with ALL studies performed concerning that particular line of inquiry. The FDA and EPA should not be permitted to rule upon the efficacy or safety of any product, drug, pesticide or other consumer goods/services unless all research is released to them for review. Many shattered or lost lives later, earlier studies or observations have often come to light that might have prevented much suffering.
Additionally, when regulatory agencies are called upon to make a ruling or express an opinion, no one should be censored on the basis that there is insufficient evidence available. If the evidence exists anywhere, regulators must be free to review and comment upon it or they simply become another arm of private enterprise at public expense…and at the expense of the public’s safety.
Categories: NY Times