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

Jen Patja, Benjamin Wittes, Quinta Jurecic, Janet Wittes, Steve Buyske
Tuesday, April 21, 2020, 12:00 PM

Published by The Lawfare Institute
in Cooperation With
Brookings

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.



Jen Patja is the editor and producer of The Lawfare Podcast and Rational Security. She currently serves as the Co-Executive Director of Virginia Civics, a nonprofit organization that empowers the next generation of leaders in Virginia by promoting constitutional literacy, critical thinking, and civic engagement. She is the former Deputy Director of the Robert H. Smith Center for the Constitution at James Madison's Montpelier and has been a freelance editor for over 20 years.
Benjamin Wittes is editor in chief of Lawfare and a Senior Fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. He is the author of several books.
Quinta Jurecic is a fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution and a senior editor at Lawfare. She previously served as Lawfare's managing editor and as an editorial writer for the Washington Post.
Janet Wittes is the president of Statistics Collaborative, a company that designs and analyzes data from clinical trials. She is the former chief of statistics at the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
Steve Buyske is a professor of statistics at Rutgers University, concentrated on biostatistics, statistical genetics and experimental design.

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