Dr Linsey McGoey, Said Business School, University of Oxford
Abstract: Through a brief survey of work within neuroethics on the social, legal and ethical implications of mood-altering substances such as SSRI antidepressants, this talk will suggest one limit of this literature is the failure, thus far, to empirically engage with regulatory, political and economic factors that make it hard to determine the risk-benefit profile of licensed medications. Much work within neuroethics remains speculative, theorizing about ethical and moral issues that may arise if certain technologies are adopted beyond the medical arenas for which they were initially developed: the use of brain imaging as legal evidence, for example, or the use of stimulant drugs for military purposes. Although such theorizing has obvious value, the aim of this talk is to argue for greater reconciliation between speculative work, and empirical research charting some of the problems raised by the present system for licensing and regulating currently available neurotechnologies. I draw on a case-study analysis of GlaxoSmithKline's suppression of clinical trial data for Seroxat, its bestselling antidepressant drug, in order to defend the argument of the need for a more politicized neuroethics.