Ohio State University researcher Michael Podell is leaving that university after an incessant campaign against him in which activists sent him death threats and harassed his children near their school. So of course, Neal Barnard and Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine issued a press release taking credit for driving Podell out of OSU.
According to the release,
The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) today declared a victory in its two-year battle to stop federally funded experiments at Ohio State University (OSU) in which cats were dosed with methamphetamine (“speed”), infected with a disease-causing virus, and finally killed.
The press release also includes Barnard’s typical obfuscation of the facts regarding medical research. Barnard claims that, “This experiment was not only cruel, but also needless.” The press release adds,
The doctors group [PCRM] pointed out that Dr. Podell had failed to consider alternatives to animal use, as required by law. Most notably, HIV-positive human patients who have used methamphetamine are already under clinical study, and the brain-damaging effects of drugs and the virus are well known.
Talk about nonsequitur. Yes, doctors already know that the AIDS virus progresses much more rapidly in people who abuse methamphetamine, but the open question is why this is the case. Podell’s research with cats produced new findings suggesting how this happens, including the surprise that brain cells themselves appear to be resistant to FIV infection but that the disease got into such cells through infected lymphocytes in a process that was accelerated in the presence of methamphetamine.
Doctors declare victory as cruel drug abuse experiments on cats are halted. Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, Press Release, June 13, 2002.