When Martin Williams’ research plan was first rejected by an ethics committee in 2012, he understood why. The medicinal chemistry researcher could see some valid sticking points. For one, the psychiatrist attached to his detailed protocol didn’t quite have the requisite clinical trials experience.
Fair enough, Williams thought.
Still, there were also less defensible reasons for the experiment being turned down. Troubling reasons. Williams was surprised, for instance, when the independent review board “overstepped their remit” by citing a lack of obvious funding for the proposal. And he was left shocked when they refused to enter into any dialogue around where the money would come from. Instead of judiciously questioning and assessing the merit of the trial – engaging in to and fro over the details – they seemed to just take his $5000 application fee, cut contact and move on.
That’s disappointing, Williams thought.
“But we were able to learn a few things, make some changes,” he said. “For next time.”
Next time was only a few months ago, in December 2015. By then Williams, 51, had brought together a more bona fide team of potential researchers and also made particular note of the proposed funding model for the research, which would test a promising but bold new method of therapy for people suffering from acute post-traumatic stress disorder.