Dr. Mercola asks, “Do Pharmaceutical Companies Have a Moral Duty to Do No Harm?”
If a corporation is a “person” – and I understand that even governments now are corporations – and a “person” has a moral and legal obligation to do no harm, then yes, a corporation as well has a moral and legal duty to do no harm. If corporate employees – including government employees – were to be held equally accountable for the “sins” of the corporation, then we would see a rapid improvement in the moral standards of all corporations. Not one good employee would cooperate with corruption and every corporation would dismiss anyone – from a secretary to the CEO – who suggested placing corporate profits over the wellbeing of either the corporation or the public.
JEREMY HOBSON, HOST: Well, one way some scientists say they can prevent the spread of this new strain of avian flu is to make it even deadlier so they can study it. Carey Goldberg, health reporter here at WBUR, joins us to talk about that. And, Carey, before we get to what the scientists are trying to do, why does it seem like – whether it’s H5N1 or H7N9 – that the avian flu will not go away?
CAREY GOLDBERG, BYLINE: Well, it’s because the threat just keeps on looming, Jeremy. I mean, it’s not my favorite topic, these sort of potential bird flu pandemics that could sweep humanity and kill millions, but it is a real threat. And researchers say that it has happened before, that there have been strains of flu that crossed from birds and created epidemics in humans. And they’re just very concerned that it could happen again on a global scale now that we live a global life.
HOBSON: Well, so tell us about this news today of a debate among scientists about creating more dangerous avian flu viruses for research purposes.
GOLDBERG: Right. It seems counterintuitive. But today, what these scientists are saying – these are some leading avian flu researchers – and they are publishing a public letter in the two most prestigious American science journals, Nature and Science. And they’re saying that they think it’s really important that they go ahead and work on modifying this new virus, H7N9, that we were just hearing about from Dr. Horby to make it even more dangerous, more resistant to drugs and more easily transmitted. And they call this gain-of-function research…
As scientists, physicians, academics, and experts from disciplines relevant to the scientific, legal, social and safety assessment aspects of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), we strongly reject claims by GM seed developers and some scientists, commentators, and journalists that there is a “scientific consensus” on GMO safety   and that the debate on this topic is “over”.
We feel compelled to issue this statement because the claimed consensus on GMO safety does not exist. The claim that it does exist is misleading and misrepresents the currently available scientific evidence and the broad diversity of opinion among scientists on this issue. Moreover, the claim encourages a climate of complacency that could lead to a lack of regulatory and scientific rigour and appropriate caution, potentially endangering the health of humans, animals, and the environment.
Science and society do not proceed on the basis of a constructed consensus, as current knowledge is always open to well-founded challenge and disagreement. We endorse the need for further independent scientific inquiry and informed public discussion on GM product safety and urge GM proponents to do the same.
Some of our objections to the claim of scientific consensus are listed below….