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From Oversight to Overkill:
Inside the Broken System That Blocks Medical Breakthroughs—And How We Can Fix It

Dr. Whitney's exposé of IRB malfunction is titled From Oversight to Overkill: Inside the Broken System That Blocks Medical Breakthroughs—And How We Can Fix It (publication date April 4, 2023).


It explains the problems of the IRB system through a series of shocking case histories. IRBs—and their federal overseers—have bungled oversight in areas ranging from the understanding of kidney stones to the treatment of intensive care unit patients on ventilators. In one particularly egregious example, the parents of desperately fragile premature babies were persuaded that their babies had been harmed in research, when that was not true.


Fortunately, this is a crisis that straightforward reforms could solve. OVERKILL explains just how a better system should be structured, so the scientists can focus their attention on finding new cures. 

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Use the coupon CURES23 for a 20% discount from the publisher. If you order five or more copies, you are eligible for a further discount.; to learn more, email


"Simon Whitney reveals a scandal that every scientist knows but none has mustered the courage to oppose: lifesaving research in the US is crippled by a mindless, Kafkaesque bureaucracy dedicated not to protecting patients but to covering its derrière and expanding its fiefdom. The little-known “Institutional Review Board” empire has become a menace to free speech and a runaway red-tape dispenser which bogs down research while failing to protect, and sometimes harming, patients and research subjects. Overkill  would be a whiz-bang book even it just blew the whistle on this outrage, but it’s also as entertaining as any medical bestseller, enlivened with unforgettable stories and vigorous, witty prose."

Steven Pinker,

Johnstone Professor of Psychology, 

Harvard University, 

and the author of "Enlightenment Now and Rationality."

"Making the urgent case that oversight done wrong limits crucial, sometimes life-saving options for patients and doctors, Whitney calls for a new approach to how institutional review operates for medical research involving human subjects in the U.S. . . . a cogent stylist and persuasive constructor of arguments, [he offers] a convincing argument for reform to better serve patients and society.”—Publishers Weekly BookLife (Editor’s Pick)


“A carefully reasoned and disturbing portrait of potential hazards of excessive regulation.”—Kirkus Reviews


“If you’re interested in clinical research, read this book! It is not a diatribe against IRBs. It’s a call to action to make them more humane. It is highly readable and persuasive.”—Rhode Island Medical Journal

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