Recently, NEJM Editor-in-Chief Jeffrey Drazen and his senior editors have shown a disturbing disregard for the journal's traditionally high standards. This became most apparent when, in 2013, they published a series of pieces that provided a misleading and unbalanced assessment of an unethical clinical trial involving more than 1,300 premature babies.
A letter published online in the Lancet on Oct. 10, by a distinguished group of scientists, ethicists and physicians from all over the world, makes an urgent plea for embarking on research for experimental Ebola treatments that would not randomize patients to a control arm that provides only conventional care or conventional care along with a placebo.
Imagine being pregnant while having a chronic health condition such as diabetes, hypertension, depression or asthma, or being diagnosed with an illness while pregnant. Amazingly, your doctor may not know exactly what treatments or drugs, or what dose, will work best for you. This is a reality faced by American women every day.
Gender-based medicine is a budding 21st-century concept. New and fascinating findings are frequent in this field of study. However, the full extent of gender differences in medicine is still to be seen, and for that we rely entirely on research in gender biology and the forward push to ensure proper gender representation in clinical trials.
The need for these drugs is greatest in the countries where the epidemic is raging. Their residents come first. Because clinical trials for safety and efficacy can be carried out only in such countries, even the "compassionate use" of an unproven drug in severely limited supply should be granted first to inhabitants of the nations that have been most severely affected.