Exclusive: Taxpayer-funded study by euthanasia supporters 'fatally flawed'

By October 20, 2015 Recent News

OneNewsNow 20 October 2015
The Government is under fire for funding a study on euthanasia that’s being run by researchers who support assisted dying.
Opponents are angry, claiming the study asking doctors and nurses for their views on euthanasia is biased and flawed.
The study is being led by two Auckland researchers, Dr Phillipa Malpas and Dr Pam Oliver, who told participants “we are independent”.
But they didn’t reveal they’re members of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society which is pushing for a law change to let doctors help patients die.
The lead researcher, Dr Malpas, supports euthanasia.
“We’re actually not seeing the kind of abuses that people worried about. We’re not seeing the slippery slope,” she told TV ONE’s Breakfast programme in 2011.
Before the study began, a reviewer questioned her links with the pro-euthanasia lobby, asking, “Does this not have to be declared?”
But it wasn’t.
Euthanasia Research Funded By Taxpayers
Media Release Care Alliance 19 October 2015
The government’s Health Research Council is funding euthanasia and assisted suicide (EAS) research, according to documents released to the Care Alliance under the Official Information Act.

The research, conducted by Dr Phillipa Malpas and Dr Pam Oliver, is the subject of complaints to the University of Auckland’s Human Participants Ethics Committee.

Matthew Jansen, spokesperson for the Care Alliance, says “It is appalling that the HRC is funding a lopsided survey that is intended to help draft legislation to kill people.”

Mr Jansen also highlighted the University of Auckland’s role in providing ethics approval for the research. “Two reviewers specifically noted that Dr Malpas is an advocate of euthanasia and assisted suicide, but they then failed to make sure that participants were told.”

“Drs Malpas and Oliver did not tell the Ethics Committee at the outset that they are members of the Voluntary Euthanasia Society, and they went on to tell survey participants that they are ‘independent’.”

“In reality they are using public funds for a private campaign.”

He says there are many other serious deficiencies in the survey which mean it should never have been approved. “They have even cited Wikipedia as a source of information for survey participants, for goodness sake. That’s an insult to the academic integrity of the University.”

Mr Jansen has written to the Chair of the University of Auckland’s Human Participants Ethics Committee asking for its approval to be suspended until the deficiencies are corrected.