TS Picks: April 14, 2015

Whistleblower “named” in PubPeer suit; African CDC; FDA oversight of dietary supplements

Apr 14, 2015
Tracy Vence

DEVIANT ART, H1S0KA

Selections from The Scientist’s reading list:

  • Pseudonymous whistleblower Clare Francis is one of the anonymous commenters on the post-publication peer review website PubPeer who pathologist Fazlul Sarkar alleges cost him a job by posting defamatory statements about his work, Retraction Watch reported. Francis, whose true identity remains unknown, told Retraction Watch that a lawyer from the American Civil Liberties Union, which is currently representing PubPeer, has offered counsel.
     
  • The African Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is set to open this year, Time reported. “The West African Ebola epidemic reaffirmed the need for a public health institute to support African ministries of health and other health agencies in their efforts to prevent, detect, and respond to any disease outbreak,” US CDC Director Tom Frieden said in a statement.
     
  • The US Food and Drug Administration’s “lethargic regulation of dietary supplements . . . is a classic example of what happens when industry representatives infiltrate the agency that is supposed to regulate them,” The New York Times editorial board argued in an April 13 opinion piece. “Much of the responsibility for the F.D.A.’s sluggish response must fall on Dr. Daniel Fabricant, who left a senior position at the Natural Products Association, a trade group for supplement makers and sellers, to head the F.D.A.’s division of dietary supplement programs in early 2011 and who jumped back to the trade association as its chief executive in the spring of 2014.”
     
  • The Wall Street Journal this week (April 12) took a look at NewLink Genetics, the Ames, Iowa–based firm that’s “drawing notice for its cutting-edge research on Ebola and cancer, despite being far removed from the drug industry’s usual hubs.”