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On the impartiality of early British clinical trials

Teira, David (2013) On the impartiality of early British clinical trials. Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, 44 (3). pp. 412-418. ISSN 13698486

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Abstract

Did the impartiality of clinical trials play any role in their acceptance as regulatory standards for the safety and efficacy of drugs? According to the standard account of early British trials in the 1930s and 1940s, their impartiality was just rhetorical: the public demanded fair tests and statistical devices such as randomization created an appearance of neutrality. In fact, the design of the experiment was difficult to understand and the British authorities took advantage of it to promote their own particular interests. I claim that this account is based on a poorly defined concept of experimental fairness (derived from T. Porter’s ideas). I present an alternative approach in which a test would be impartial if it incorporates warrants of non-manipulability. With this concept, I reconstruct the history of British trials showing that they were indeed fair and this fairness played a role in their acceptance as regulatory yardsticks.


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Item Type: Published Article or Volume
Creators:
CreatorsEmailORCID
Teira, David
Keywords: clinical trials Streptomycin fair test impartiality
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Medicine > Clinical Trials
General Issues > Evidence
General Issues > Experimentation
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
Specific Sciences > Medicine
General Issues > Science and Policy
Depositing User: Prof. David Teira
Date Deposited: 28 Sep 2020 12:25
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2020 12:25
Item ID: 18151
Journal or Publication Title: Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Official URL: http://doi.org/10.1016/j.shpsc.2013.05.003
DOI or Unique Handle: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.shpsc.2013.05.003
Subjects: Specific Sciences > Medicine > Clinical Trials
General Issues > Evidence
General Issues > Experimentation
General Issues > History of Science Case Studies
Specific Sciences > Medicine
General Issues > Science and Policy
Date: 2013
Page Range: pp. 412-418
Volume: 44
Number: 3
ISSN: 13698486
URI: https://philsci-archive-dev.library.pitt.edu/id/eprint/18151

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