Risk and Safety in Medical Innovation

December 30, 2002

Risks associated with new drugs and medical devices challenge expectations for progress in medicine and can undermine public trust in industry, physicians, and the government. While international efforts have been made to ensure safety in medicine, the contexts in which medical innovations take place create different understandings of acceptable risks. To better understand these issues, this year's Cain Conference addresses a set of related questions: How do risk perception and response differ among key actors and institutions (inventors, manufacturers, statisticians, regulators, physicians, patients, and the media)? What types of evidence are used to decide on risk and safety? Who has the power to decide whether a procedure, drug, or device is risky or safe? The talks help explain the historical development of modern notions of risk and safety while emphasizing their contingent and context-dependent character. They also will provide a comparative background for evaluating contemporary problems in medical innovation.
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Chemical Heritage Foundation

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