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Saturday, April 22, 2006
FDA: Politics Trumps Science, Yet Again
The ongoing ideological corruption of science by the Bush Administration continues unabated. As reported in The New York Times, the latest example is an announcement by the Food and Drug Administration that there were no "sound scientific studies" supporting the use of medical marijuana.
"The Food and Drug Administration statement directly contradicts a 1999 review by the Institute of Medicine, a part of the National Academy of Sciences, the nation's most prestigious scientific advisory agency. That review found marijuana to be "moderately well suited for particular conditions, such as chemotherapy -induced nausea and vomiting and AIDS wasting." "
"....Opponents of efforts to legalize marijuana for medicinal uses suggest that marijuana is a so-called gateway drug that often leads users to try more dangerous drugs and to addiction.
But the Institute of Medicine report concluded there was no evidence that marijuana acted as a gateway to harder drugs. And it said there was no evidence that medical use of marijuana would increase its use among the general population.
Dr. Daniele Piomelli, a professor of pharmacology at the University of California, Irvine, said he had "never met a scientist who would say that marijuana is either dangerous or useless."
Studies clearly show that marijuana has some benefits for some patients, Dr. Piomelli said. "
On matters of medical treatments, there is no excuse for an agency to ignore scientific findings that could lead to more effective care. The government has a primary responsibility to advance the health interests of the people, irrespective of ideological considerations. It seems to be a pattern with this administration that evidence, relative to any particular question, is only deemed relevant to the extent that it advances a political agenda. To impose such standards on the scientific agencies of the government represents a profound corruption of their mission, and it works to the detriment of those most in need of care.

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2 Comments on "FDA: Politics Trumps Science, Yet Again"
This appears to be another example of the Bush administration's penchant to manipulate science for political gain. In August 2003, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) released a report "Politics and Science in the Bush Administration" investigating the Bush administrations' relationship with science. The report recounted instances of the administration interfering in science and found that "the beneficiaries of the scientific distortions are important suporters of the President, including social conservatives and powerful industry groups".

Excerpt from the executive summary:
"The American people depend upon federal agencies to promote scientific research and to develop science-based policies that protect the nation’s health and welfare. Historically, these agencies — such as the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Environmental Protection Agency — have had global reputations for scientific excellence.

Recently, however, leading scientific journals have begun to question whether scientific integrity at federal agencies has been sacrificed to further a political and ideological agenda. As the editor of Science wrote earlier this year, there is growing evidence that the Bush Administration “invades areas once immune to this kind of manipulation.”

At the request of Rep. Henry A. Waxman, this report assesses the treatment of science and scientists by the Bush Administration. It finds numerous instances where the Administration has manipulated the scientific process and distorted or suppressed scientific findings. These actions go far beyond the typical shifts in policy that occur with a change in the political party occupying the White House. Thirteen years ago, former President George H.W. Bush stated that “[n]ow more than ever, on issues ranging from climate change to AIDS research . . . government relies on the impartial perspective of science for guidance.” Today, President George W. Bush’s Administration has skewed this impartial perspective, generating unprecedented criticism from the scientific community and even from prominent Republicans who once led federal agencies.

The Administration’s political interference with science has led to misleading statements by the President, inaccurate responses to Congress, altered web sites, suppressed agency reports, erroneous international communications, and the gagging of scientists. The subjects involved span a broad range, but they share a common attribute: the beneficiaries of the scientific distortions are important supporters of the President, including social conservatives and powerful industry groups.

The report identifies over twenty scientific issues affected by the undermining of science"...

Anonymous Laja @ Sun Apr 23, 08:38:00 AM EDT  
The NASA scientists have certainly had a bellyfull from the Bush administration lackeys.
Remember James Hansen (renouned researcher on global warming) speaking out about Bush administration censorship? Here is a quote (from a CBS-60 Minutes piece March 2006 http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/03/17/60minutes/main1415985_page3.shtml):

"In my more than three decades in the government I've never witnessed such restrictions on the ability of scientists to communicate with the public."

Anonymous Felid @ Sun Apr 23, 09:36:00 AM EDT  
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