News and Events: Major setback for open access to Clinical Trial data, New Senate Bill would decimate science’s input on public policy, and lots of changes happening in European science policy

Posted: June 2, 2013 in Ethics, Events, Funding, Jobs, Policy, Science

Very sad news. “The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has been forced to scale back its programme to make more clinical-trial data available, owing to ongoing legal action.” See my previous blog post here regarding this ongoing battle.

“The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the first cancer drug to inhibit a protein — called MEK — that acts in a pathway that fuels tumour growth. The drug, called Mekinist (trametinib), was approved on 29 May for use in advanced melanomas with specific mutations. Other MEK-targeting drugs are being studied in a wide range of tumours, including lung and thyroid cancers.” But oh my goodness, Mekinist and Tafinlar (the second FDA approved cancer drug) run around $8000 per month wholesale!!!!! See here for more on this subject.

Union of Concerned Scientists take on US Senate Bill S.1029: “The Regulatory Accountability Act is written in complex legal language that will have a simple and drastic result. Any major action an agency proposes to protect the public and the environment will be vulnerable to challenges from corporate special interests. These challenges will enable corporations to question any science on which the agency’s assessment is based. And these challenges will be decided not by knowledgeable scientists but by an administrative law judge with no special scientific expertise. A judge will get to decide whether the science the agency uses is “genuinely in dispute.””

“A report this month by the McKinsey Global Institute — the subject of a story on The Washington Post’s Wonkblog — identified 12 “disruptive technologies” that could be transformative for the U.S. economy.” They are (first to last): Mobile Internet, Automation of knowledge work, Internet of things, Cloud, Advanced robotics, Autonomous and near-autonomous vehicles, 3D printing, Advanced materials.

“It sets the course only for European physicists, but an updated strategy for European particle physics released yesterday hints at a possible global strategy for the whole field.” Key points are the full utilization of the Large Hadron Collider and importantly, a willingness to join other megaprojects outside of the Europe.

“France’s government hopes that science can help shore up the country’s lackluster economy. On Tuesday, the National Assembly approved a new law that aims to simplify the national landscape for research and higher education and make it more efficient, better able to address societal and economic challenges, and more competitive at the European level. The bill, which comes hand in hand with a new strategic plan for France’s research priorities, also gives the government a greater role in coordinating research. The bill and the road map have been sharply criticized by various groups of researchers and university professors.”

“Ten top European life sciences institutes have launched a new alliance to help themselves become more competitive and have a strong, unified voice in European science policy. The new group, EU-Life, had its kickoff here yesterday at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona, one of its members. “All of us together, we can really try to make something powerful,” says CRG Director Luis Serrano, who co-founded the new alliance.”



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