Academic Council Lecture Series on Pharmaceutical Drug Development

UCMSA Universalis is the Study Association of University College Maastricht. All UCM students are automatically members of Universalis upon their entry into UCM and they are encouraged to engage in the social and academic life of the UCM community. Universalis has several committees who organize events and carry out social activities. Members of the Universalis Academic Council aim at enriching the academic community at UCM, for instance by inviting renowned guest lecturers and organising thought-provoking debates on various topics. Hereafter a report from a lecture series on „Law, Ethics and Science of Pharmaceutical Drug Development” put together by Deborah Koll and Laura Rahmeier, UCM students.

Academic Council Lecture Series

In June 2015, the Universalis Academic Council (AC) organized a guest lecture series for the students of University College Maastricht. UCM students had democratically chosen “Law, Ethics and the Science of Pharmaceutical Drug Development” as the desired topic beforehand. At events of different formats, including guest lectures, workshops and discussion rounds students examined this general theme from the different angles of law, ethics or science and with different focuses, but always relating to each other.

The first event covered the scientific aspect of pharmaceutical drug development. Two scientists from the medical faculty in Maastricht, Dr. Jos Prickaerts and João Casaca-Carreira provided insights into the biological and technical dimensions of drug development, explained the scientific processes involved in clinical trials and shared their personal experience of the relationship between academia and industry.

For the second lecture, Prof. Dr. David Townend (FHML, Maastricht University) elaborated on the legal aspects related to drug development and the basic philosophical questions involved in the different steps of clinical trials as presented in the first lecture.

The third session featured a discussion round led by Dr med Christiane Fischer. Being a representative of the German National Ethics Council, Dr. Fischer gave practical and medical insights into drug development by specifically focusing on corruption in health care and medicine. Based on her introduction a lively discussion developed touching on the ethics involved in drug development and distribution. 

For the fourth event, Prof Dr Ludwig Siep from the Universität Münster gave a lecture on different problems of pharmaceutical drug development from a philosophical and ethical point of view. Relating the case of drug development to different philosophical theories, he shed light on the various perspectives, opinions and questions involved.

Finally, the student organization Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) Maastricht conducted a workshop with interested UCM students. The workshop combined all  aspects of law, ethics and science with regard to pharmaceutical drug development by applying it to different cases of neglected diseases.