Dr Mark Flear, lecturer at Queen’s University, Belfast visited LSTS during the week 21-25 April 2014. His main research interests are in public health and new health technologies with a focus on their biopolitics. His first book (the pioneering Flear and others, ‘European Law and New Health Technologies’) was published by Oxford University Press in 2013. Mark is currently completing a monograph, ‘Governing Public Health: EU Law, Regulation and its Biopolitics‘, to be published by Hart Publishing in 2015. In 2013 Mark was appointed to the Northern Ireland DNA Database Governance Board. Further details can be found at his personal site. Mark can be contacted by e-mail and via Twitter (@MarkFlear).
On 24 April 2014 he gave a presentation titled ‘Neoliberal Biomedical Knowledge Production: Clinical Trials and the Vulnerable Subjects of EU Law‘.
The abstract reads as follows: ‘This paper explores how EU law helps to produce and support the preference for pharmaceutical responses in public health governance, while authorising the production of vulnerable subjects through the growing outsourcing of clinical trials. I demonstrate how EU law allows and legitimates the use of data procured from vulnerable subjects abroad for market authorisation and corporate profitability at home. This is possible because the EU has (de)selected international ethical frameworks in order to support the continued and growing use of clinical trials data from abroad. This has in turn helped to stimulate the revision of international ethical frameworks in light of market needs, inscribing EU public health law within specific politics (that often remained obscured by the joint workings of legal and technological discourses). I argue that law operates as part of a broader neoliberal technology that functions to optimise life through resort to market reasoning. Law is thereby reoriented, instrumentalised and deployed as part of a broader project aimed at (re)defining and limiting the boundaries of the EU’s responsibility for public health, including the broader social production of public health problems and the unequal global order that the EU represents and helps to depoliticise and perpetuate. Overall, this limits the EU’s responsibility and accountability for these failures, as well as another: the weak and mutable protections and insecure legacies for vulnerable trial subjects abroad‘.