Saturday 13 February 2010


The US publication The Chronicle of Higher Education this week reports that Harvard Medical School has appointed drug company executive of Eli Lilly as Research Dean. [ ] The drug company Eli Lilly was the greatest producer of DES. The Harvard Medical School also had a role in the DES saga during the 1940s, when the two Harvard Doctors George and Olive Smith strongly advocated DES usage in pregnancy – without tests on pregnant animals and without testing an unexposed, comparison group of women.

Not only does this appointment raise huge ethical concerns with financial conflicts of interest in university medical research, but it also rubs salt in the wound for everyone affected by DES exposure. As we all rely heavily on USA for the majority of research in the DES field, this appointment truly is a horrifying prospect for us.

So, in Australia, what can you do about this?

Email your concerns to Harvard Medical School at the link:

Send a letter to the editor at the Boston Globe: Your letter (200 words or less) should include: full name, address and a telephone number for confirmation purposes. (Letter is subject to condensation.)

In expressing your outrage at the lack of ethical consideration, you can also mention the role of Eli Lilly and the Harvard Medical School in the DES drug disaster. Let the Harvard Medical School know they should do the right thing by rescinding this job offer – and while they’re at it, apologise and accept responsibility for their role in the DES drug tragedy.

This is too serious to let go. Write now.