Evaluating Emerging Issues in Epidemiology

  • Publication Date :
  • Publication Type : Journal Article
  • Author(s) : Collins JJ, Bukowski JA, Weed DL, Brent RL, Klein P, Boerstoel-Streefland M, Sprafka JM, Williams AL, Holsapple MP
  • Journal Name : Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology

Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology. 2007;48(3):296-307.

Abstract: Industry and government institutions need a credible approach for evaluating and responding to emerging public health issues. Representatives of industry, government, and academia met under the auspices of the International Life Sciences Institute’s Health and Environmental Sciences Institute (HESI) to develop successful strategies for dealing with emerging issues based on historical case studies. The case studies chosen for evaluation were (1) tampon use and toxic shock syndrome; (2) hazardous waste and childhood cancer risk in Toms River, New Jersey; (3) fenfluramine and phentermine use and valvular heart disease; (4) silicone breast implants and cancer and auto-immune disease; and (5) progestational drugs and birth defects. We identified eight lessons from these case studies. Foremost, we recommend that public and private institutions not defer action until an issue is scientifically resolved and stress that cooperation among issue stakeholders is critical for effective issue resolution. We suggest establishing a research program as an effective way to assure that good science is included in resolution of the issue. We further recommend frequent and timely communication with all stakeholders, and the development of research approaches to fill gaps when the scientific data on an issue are limited.

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