Monday, August 23, 2010

Lab rats? Drugs for US children tried on Indian children

"by comparison with the reality, my story is as tame as a holiday postcard"

--afterward in The Constant Garderner, John Le Carre

This comes from The Times of India. American pharmaceutical companies are using Indian children in drug trials. The article discusses the Pediatric Exclusivity Provision, which allows drug companies an extra six months of patent exclusivity if they test drugs on children.

According to one critic: “We are now using vulnerable people in vulnerable countries as drug laboratories...It is all about dollars and cents.”

But the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America says that there is no difference in the way trials are conducted in the US and abroad.

Except we get to that nasty little part about informed consent of the parents. One Pakistani doctor notes, “People actually have blind trust in their doctor in South Asia. They have no idea what drug development is, they have no idea what clinical trials are."

Scary and yet highly profitable if you're a drug company.

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