Government review of Australian experimental human research abuses.Media Release by Robert Cockburn (FCA Member)

17/4/22 Media Release for FCA colleagues

Robert Cockburn TRAC Productions Mb: 0414 778 761 E:

In 2018 I suffered debilitating life-changing injuries after my trusted Sydney University lung specialist deceived me into testing experimental medical devices. 

More than 30 other unwitting asthma patients were similarly recruited from Sydney hospitals in a scandal that threatens the university’s international reputation. 

After a three-year cover-up, an Australian Federal Government Review has finally been launched into failings by Sydney University and its Woolcock Institute, and Sydney Local Health District [SLHD.] Initial SLHD findings of dangerous and unethical human research violations remain confidential (available) and no staff were held to account. Some of Australia’s most eminent doctors and scientists from Sydney University are involved. The Review by the Health Department’s Australian Research Integrity Committee (ARIC) will report in 2022. Its focus is on the roles of SLHD Chief Executive Dr Teresa Anderson, Woolcock Executive Director Prof Carol Armour and Sydney University Vice-Chancellor Prof Stephen Garton (now retired) – unprecedented at this high level. 

The case opens up the insidious practice of companies and universities who exploit patients to test products. Easily ignored in the developing world, its exposure at the heart of Australian research at its oldest university will be felt around the world: Sydney University is ranked 38th in the world. It works many of top universities.
The role of Sydney University’s head of pharmacy is key. As a former chair of a SLHD Human Research Ethics Committee responsible for stopping abuse, instead he signed a false 2017 clinical trial approval letter to facilitate his university colleagues’ actions. 
Their abuses betray patients, hospitals and health workers, and trust in the clinical trial system vital to medical advances. I was left with worsened breathing and the onset of a migraine condition. I now need home oxygen and medicines for high blood pressure and sleeping difficulties. I want to make sure no one else suffers again in this way.

TRAC Productions is preparing a tv program about the scandal for French distributor Java Films. It has exclusive inside documents and recordings, interviews and an Australian and international cast. All material is available to FCA membersI have been a foreign correspondent for over forty years: in the Middle East and Europe for The Observer and BBC, and Australia and Asia for BBC, The Times and many more, including the Financial Times, Private Eye, American Prospect, Amnesty International, C4 News, CBS, NHK and Australian publishers and broadcasters. I am a lead peer-reviewed writer for the Public Library of Science Medicine investigating the fake pharmaceutical drug racket, with Oxford University doctors and African medical regulators [link: PLOS Medicine 2, e100].   

 For further information contact:

Robert Cockburn TRAC Productions Mb: 0414 778 761 E:


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