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Science, Ethics, and Due Process

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University of Alabama in Birmingham; Birmingham, Alabama

Ann Intern Med. 1981;95(1):116-117. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-95-1-116
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The absurdities resulting from the application of due process to novel therapeutic endeavors in humans are strikingly illustrated by two recent events. Standing in stark contrast are the legalization of laetrile by more than 20 state legislatures and the administrative censure of one of the nation's most imaginative scientists for his attempts to use recently developed techniques of genetic engineering to cure several patients of inevitably fatal genetic disorders. In the first case, outlandish claims, presented by persons of doubtful credibility, eventually resulted in an National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded, one-half million dollar, predictably negative clinical trial approved by four




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