In this prescient editorial, Cox criticizes a proposal from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to reorganize the state-funded Cooperative Group Program that oversees most clinical trials studying adult cancers in the United States. What are Cox's complaints? 1) Contrary to a recent Institute of Medicine report that clinical trials "government oversight has become extensive and complex," the NCI's proposal increases government oversight of clinical trials. 2) The NCI's proposal recommendation for data management and operations consolidation will lead to "slowing of progress, ... increased expenses, and the disenfranchisement of many investigators, all of whom are volunteers, during the reorganization process." 3) The penultimate goal of the NCI's proposal is not to improve clinical trials; rather the penultimate goal is "control" for the "desire of the NCI staff for many years" has been to "direct, even to dictate, the activities of the cooperative groups, rather than to rely on the expertise of leaders in the groups."
Complaint #3 is the radical libertarian insight into the nature of the state. Three cheers for Dr. Cox!!!
Sadly, however, Dr. Cox is no libertarian, for he does advocate "increased funding" of the Cooperative Group Program. From the context, it is clear he does not imagine voluntary funding methods exist. I recommend a libertarian intervention to rescue this good man's brain.