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The New York Times has an interesting story about Peter Butler, head of the endocrinology department at UCLA. Butler was hired by pharma giant Merck to test the company’s new diabetes drug. But rather than provide clinical evidence of the drug’s effectiveness, his studies raised questions about whether the drug might heighten the risk of pancreatic cancer, much to the chagrin of Merck.
It’s an important story given that diabetes drugs generate $9 billion in annual sales.
But the tone of the story annoys me to no end. It makes Butler out to be a figure of towering integrity and even quotes someone describing him as “an American hero” and “a rugged individualist.” For doing his job? Don’t we expect that of people anymore? To paraphrase Chris Rock, you’re not supposed to be corrupt, you low-expectation-having motherf*cker.