Saturday, April 11, 2009

What Is The Quality Of Your Data?

The Federal Government has a data quality problem.

A new Data Quality Act (DQA) lawsuit was filed Feb. 22 in a federal court in California. The suit claims that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) are disseminating false and misleading information regarding the health benefits of marijuana. The lawsuit is another test of the judicial reviewability of DQA, which enables groups and members of the public to challenge the data quality of federal government information.

The lawsuit was filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California by Americans for Safe Access in response to a denial of an information quality challenge originally made against HHS and FDA in October 2004. The petition challenged various statements made by HHS and FDA in the Federal Register regarding the health benefits of marijuana. For instance, the Americans for Safe Access requested that the following statement, "There have been no studies that have scientifically assessed the efficacy of marijuana for any medical condition," be revised to state, "Adequate and well-recognized studies show the efficacy of marijuana in the treatment of nausea, loss of appetite, pain and spasticity."
Those are not the only conditions that marijuana could ameliorate.

Here is a list that provides links to many published studies on the efficacy of medical marijuana. Let me just provide the "A"s section of the lists.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Anxiety Disorders
Aversive Memories

Here is an interesting "D":


And near the bottom of the list:


It would seem that the Federal Government and Congress have not been keeping up. Justice Clarence Thomas got it right in a medical marijuana case (Raich) when he said
"Congress presented no evidence in support of its conclusions (that marijuana has no medical value - ed.) , which are not so much findings of fact as assertions of power," and Thomas concludes: "Congress cannot define the scope of its own power merely by declaring the necessity of its enactments."
At least one person in the Federal Government gets it.

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