The Lawfare Podcast: Mom and Dad Talk Clinical Trials in a Pandemic

By Jen Patja Howell
Tuesday, April 21, 2020, 5:25 PM

There has been a lot of confusion during the COVID-19 crisis about what counts as legitimate clinical evidence that a treatment really works. The president is endorsing unproven drug therapies based on anecdotal accounts. And while Lawfare is not a clinical trials or medical site, the subject of treating coronavirus cases certainly has become a national security issue.

Benjamin Wittes and Quinta Jurecic just happen to know the perfect people to offer a basic explainer of the clinical research process. Mom and Dad.

To be precise, Ben's mom and Quinta's dad, both of whom are biostatisticians. Janet Wittes is the president of Statistics Collaborative, a company that designs and analyzes data from clinical trials. She used to be the chief of statistics at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Steve Buyske is a professor of statistics at Rutgers University, who works on biostatistics, statistical genetics and experimental design. The four gathered in the virtual Jungle Studio to talk about the history of clinical trials, the standards for good clinical research and to what extent those standards can slip when you're dealing with an ongoing pandemic that is killing people worldwide.