Abstract

http://ssrn.com/abstract=2441557
 


 



Crowdsourcing Public Health Experiments: A Response to Jonathan Darrow's Crowdsourcing Clinical Trials


Ameet V. Sarpatwari


Harvard Medical School; Brigham and Women's Hospital

Christopher T. Robertson


University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law; Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics; Harvard University - Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics

David V. Yokum


University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law; University of Arizona - College of Science

Keith A. Joiner


University of Arizona - College of Medicine

May 23, 2014

98 Minnesota Law Review 2326 (2014)
Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 14-14

Abstract:     
We are pleased to have this opportunity to respond to Jonathan Darrow’s article, Crowdsourcing Clinical Trials (CCT). We seek to highlight its important contributions and to commence debate over some of its arguments. In particular, we qualify the ethical arguments that characterize early clinical use of drugs as if they were research, and suggest instead that, in either domain, the ethical (and legal) analysis should remain focused on whether all material information is provided so patients may make informed decisions. We also highlight the limits of what can be gleaned from the observational data collection efforts envisioned by CCT.

Ultimately, we exploit the core insights of CCT to expand the potential use of crowdsourcing from observational studies to truly randomized interventional trials. Randomized experiments allow causal inference because they assign subjects to a treatment and control group, and collect data from each. Furthermore, we draw attention to the fact that much of public health is driven not by pharmaceuticals, but by lifestyle factors. We suggest that CCT’s envisioned platform for crowdsourcing also has great potential to engage the public in producing new and trustworthy knowledge in the domains of diet, exercise, nutritional supplements, and integrative medicine, which are primary drivers of health outcomes and spending.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 21

Keywords: crowdsourcing, clinical trials, CCT, ethics, informed consent, observational studies, public health

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Date posted: May 26, 2014 ; Last revised: May 27, 2014

Suggested Citation

Sarpatwari, Ameet V. and Robertson, Christopher T. and Yokum, David V. and Joiner, Keith A., Crowdsourcing Public Health Experiments: A Response to Jonathan Darrow's Crowdsourcing Clinical Trials (May 23, 2014). 98 Minnesota Law Review 2326 (2014); Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 14-14. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2441557

Contact Information

Ameet V. Sarpatwari
Harvard Medical School ( email )
250 Longwood Avenue
Boston, MA 02115
United States
Brigham and Women's Hospital ( email )
Boston, MA 02115
United States
Christopher T. Robertson (Contact Author)
University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law ( email )
P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States
HOME PAGE: http://www.law.arizona.edu/faculty/getprofile.cfm?facultyid=714

Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics ( email )
124 Mount Auburn Street
Suite 520N
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

Harvard University - Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics ( email )
23 Everett Street
Cambridge, MA 02155
United States
David V. Yokum
University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law ( email )
P.O. Box 210176
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States
University of Arizona - College of Science ( email )
1040 E. Fourth Street
Tucson, AZ 85721-0077
United States
Keith A. Joiner
University of Arizona - College of Medicine ( email )
Tucson, AZ 85721
United States
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