April 29, 2006

Drug Trials in India: Finally Somebody is Paying Attention

I've made it clear that in my view pharma trials in India should be the focus of a huge amount of attention in the world of research ethics. Why no one in the U.S. other than the occasional journalist (see, e.g., the Wired piece in March) seems to care is beyond me.

In fact I'll go further. That we should focus so much attention on the tiny trial of Parexel in Britain, which injured six people, while two million Indian patients, almost all of whom are poor, almost none of whom have any real health care at all, and none of whom will be empowered to sue anybody, are enrolled (by 2010, according to estimates quoted in the BBC story) in clinical trials.

The Parexel subjects knew they were in a clinical trial. There are problems with the trial. But the trials in India that have surfaced as problematic are so much more problematic. Has it dawned on those who discuss the evils of the Parexel trial that the next step for trials of this variety is that to avoid controversy they will be moved to India?

Here's the ultimate "progressive bioethics" issue.

Anyway there is a very interesting BBC exposé that will be aired very soon on the matter and if you care about ethics in research and can watch BBC you'd better watch. Here's a little clip.

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