Vera Sharav

A public advocate for human rights is the founder and president of the Alliance for Human Research Protection (AHRP) which serves as an information resource and public interest watchdog organization whose goal is to unlock the walls of secrecy in biomedical research and bring accountability to that endeavor. AHRP Infomails have a wide following: they are read by physicians and scientists, public health officials, journalists, lawyers, and patient advocacy organizations.

Her advocacy achievements include: suspension of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) pesticide experiment (CHEERS) on children; complaint led to two federal investigations on the use of children in foster care as guinea pigs in experimental AIDS drug and vaccine trials; suspension of smallpox vaccine on children; suspension of “violence prediction” experiment that exposed 6–11 year old NYC boys of color to fenfluramine ; opened a public debate about the ethics of relapse-inducing experiments in schizophrenia patients. Organized families and victims of unethical research to join her in testifying before the National Bioethics Advisory Committee (NBAC) — re: unethical experimentation on mentally disabled psychiatric patients; those testimonies led to a prize-winning series in the Boston Globe, “Doing Harm: Research on the Mentally Ill” — ultimately resulting in the shutdown of 29 clinical trials at the National Institute of Mental Health (1999).

Mrs. Sharav served on the Children’s Workgroup of the National Human Research Protection Advisory Committee where she was the sole dissenter objecting to expanded use of children in high risk medical experiments. She has testified before public policy advisory panels including, the Institute of Medicine — against human pesticide experiments; against prison drug research; numerous FDA hearings, against misuse of psychotropic drugs for children.

She has been an invited presenter at various professional and academic forums: World Federation of Science Journalists, London; National Academy of Sciences Policy Fellow program and National Public Health Association re: screening for mental illness; Consumers Institute for Medicines and Health, Stockholm — re: America’s overmedicated children; Columbia University; NY Hospital, Cornell; U.S. military medical ethics forum; University of Texas.

Her recent peer-reviewed publications include: Medical Ethics and Contemporary Medicine in Vaccine Epidemic Edited by Louise Kuo Habakus and Mary Holland, JD (2011); Screening for Mental Illness: The Merger of Eugenics and the Drug Industry, Ethical Human Psychology and Psychiatry (2005); Conflicts of Interest in Biomedical Research Harm Children With and Without Disabilities,” Journal of Disability Policy Studies (2004); “The Impact of FDAMA on the recruitment of children for research,” EHPP (2003); “Children in Clinical Research: A Conflict of Moral Values,” American Journal of Bioethics (2003); The ethics of conducting psychosis-inducing experiments,” Accountability in Research (1999).

Read recent Profile of Vera Sharav: “Distrustful of authority…a fierce critic of medical establishment” in STAT News /Reporting from the frontiers of health and medicine.