March 5, 2024

20100501 newsletter

May 1, 2010 

Hi there,

A canny Australian prime minister once mused that the benchmark of success for his administration was sport on the front page of newspapers. No scandals, no wars, no natural disasters, just the weekly drama of football and horses.

I feel a bit the same about BioEdge. I’d like to report more extensively on serious debates about the morality of euthanasia, stem cell research, informed consent and other cutting edge issues. But lurid dramas about personal morality keep intruding.

For instance, in this issue, we report that the president-elect of the World Medical Association has been arrested on corruption charges. Dr Ketan Desai will have his day in court to prove his innocence, but it is not the first time and the last time he was found guilty. He may have managed to corrupt the whole process of medical accreditation in India along the way. No doubt this will have other perverse effects.

Disgracefully, at the same time as he was allegedly scooping up bribes from medical institutions, Dr Desai was busy forbiddding Indian doctors to accept gifts from drug companies. Indian medical students can be forgiven if they end up feeling cynical about the whole enterprise of medical ethics. The lesson from this sorry episode seems to be that defining ethical standards is important, but they are worthless without personal integrity.


Michael Cook

Michael Cook
ketan desai