Editor's Corner

Bad regulations drive out good science

For drug researchers around the world, government regulations can present a serious challenge to efficiently mounting new clinical trials. In today's report, we have several examples of how that can play out. In the U.K., researchers say that government regulators have developed a bad case of cold feet when it comes to high-risk trials. In Australia, new rules on therapeutic cloning are expected to keep Australian scientists at home. And acclaimed scientist Ian Wilmut discusses how regulations are affecting stem cell science.

It's evident that overly strict regulatory controls on trials will drive out good science. Biomedical research is a global business, and if one country can't decide how to proceed, another country will be beckoning. That's one reason why Singapore has been so effective in attracting top scientific talent.

We're not saying that everyone with a trial should be given a quick pat on the back. Scrutiny is always warranted when the risk of death is involved. But when scrutiny becomes a needless, paralyzing hassle, don't be surprised by the immediate reaction that can be expected from the drug development community. - John Carroll