Vol , Issue Date of Publication: April 12, 2024
DOI: https://doi.org/10.20529/IJME.2024.022

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Nancy Olivieri: Sometimes, truth has only one face

Sandhya Srinivasan
Nancy Olivieri is a senior haematologist and professor at the University of Toronto, Canada. In the early 1990s, she was conducting investigator-initiated research of an experimental drug, deferiprone, in children with thalassaemia, for which a pharmaceutical company, Apotex, started giving some supplemental support. In the course of her work, Dr Olivieri found that deferiprone might not be very effective and was also possibly toxic. When she signalled her intent to disclose the risks to participants, the trials were immediately shut down and she was threatened with “all legal remedies” should she disclose her concerns. This led to 18 years of attacks from the CEO of Apotex as well as fabricated charges and harassment from the University and the Hospital for Sick Children where she worked.

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©Indian Journal of Medical Ethics 2024: Open Access and Distributed under the Creative Commons license ( CC BY-NC-ND 4.0),
which permits only non-commercial and non-modified sharing in any medium, provided the original author(s) and source are credited.

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  1. Richard Mitchell
    Brock University , Canada
    15 April 2024

    Thank you for standing strong all these years. You are a beacon of light for many within and beyond your own field. Congratulations on your prestigious award.

    • Affiliation: Brock University
    • Country: Canada
  2. G L Krishna
    National Centre for Biological Sciences , India
    17 April 2024

    Thanks for this interview. It’s inspiring for those of us struggling against our respective establishments for the sake of truth and public welfare. This line is particularly impactful: “The sad fact is that many in academia do not seem to appreciate the significance of a struggle until it is honoured with public recognition — which of course almost never happens — and until or unless it does happen, many view it as simply a fight with two “opinions”, not between right and wrong.”

    • Affiliation: National Centre for Biological Sciences
    • Country: India
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