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Testing Drugs on India's Poor

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the pincushion-for-cash dept.

Biotech 531

theodp writes to tell us Wired is reporting that a lot of medical research firms are using India's poor as a hot test bed. From the article: "The sudden influx of drug companies to India resembles the gold rush frontier, according to Sean Philpott, managing editor of The American Journal of Bioethics. 'Not only are research costs low, but there is a skilled work force to conduct the trials'"

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Wait (4, Funny)

nizo (81281) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293828)

So now we are outsourcing the jobs of lab animals [wikipedia.org] to India?? And I shudder to think what the "No Indian testing" [wikipedia.org] label will be in Europe (maybe a big hand patting a meditating guru on the head?)

Re:Wait (3, Funny)

keezer (918541) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293850)

PeTA ought to be thrilled. If we test on less fortunate human beings, that means fewer animals have to suffer.

Re:Wait (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14294027)

Sure, those Indians probably rank lower than pigs and rabgits for people like you.

Re:Wait (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14294147)

Comment was a dig at PeTA. PeTA hates humans.
http://www.stopanimaltests.com/ [stopanimaltests.com]

If you want to be an animal rights activist, there is the legitimate organization called the ASPCA http://www.aspca.org/ [aspca.org]
They have been around for over 130 years.

PeTA is a bunch of wackjob veggie hippies that hates humans and are considered terrorists.
http://www.naiaonline.org/body/articles/archives/c a_arson_terrorist(8-7-03).htm/ [naiaonline.org]
http://www.activistcash.com/organization_overview. cfm/oid/21/ [activistcash.com]

Re:Wait (1)

guru8376 (695028) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294091)

that's sad, but probably close to true.

Re:Wait (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14294145)

Are you kidding? The unemployment rate for lab rats will skyrocket! How are the poor rats supposed to feed their kids? WON'T SOMEBODY THINK OF THE RAT CHILDREN?

Re:Wait (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14293936)

Its not funny, but is a grave ethical issue. The poverty is being misused to coerce them into becoming lab animals of which they really don't speculate much because of ignorance and illiteracy. The winners are the multinationals who keep filling their pockets with money.

Re:Wait (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14294030)

And the lab animals...

Re:Wait (4, Insightful)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294040)

it's as big a scandal as the ships being dissassembled by hand on the beaches of India... and all the surplus PCs being shipped off to be stripped down by hand...

Corporate pigs shipping work out to places that have NO health and safety laws... all in the name of short term shareholder profits. These bastards have NO ethics... how would they feel if they themselves were on the breadline with no job protection and the only work available being dirty, shit jobs exported from countries that should know better

Re:Wait (2, Informative)

nizo (81281) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294111)

'Ship Breaking' [msn.com] is indeed incredibly harsh and toxic work.

Re:Wait (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14294152)

Yeah it's all the corporations fault. If it wasn't for them doctors would go out of their way to make medicines that worked without needing to be tested on animals or humans, right?

It's interesting to see that the same people who support the ecoterrorism by the Animal Liberation Front which has crippled our ability to test drugs on animals are now complaining about the ethical issues of testing drugs on people in India. If only we lived in one big socialistic world, people wouldn't get sick and need drugs, right?

It is obviously the corporations fault. Their love of profits make them test life-saving drugs on people instead of doing the decent thing and going out of business (giving their drugs to noone). If only they knew that their profits are what make people sick in the world.

IBM now owns my sole (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14293831)

damn free day pass

I'm Fine With It (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14293832)

Drug and other critical medical research needs to be conducted and tested on live humans at some point. Some people are going to bite the bullet for humanity, why not India's poor? They are getting paid for it, a nice enough sum that it's worth their health and life. They aren't being forced or coerced into it.

Besides, these people don't have much use in society or a future, especially in India's caste society. This is an excellent opportunity for them to contribute something to better mankind and benefit the rest of us. We should be applauding and congratulating them for their sacrifice. We shouldn't try to take this away from them.

Some people will be angry with this, but if not them, then who's going to do this?

Re:I'm Fine With It (4, Insightful)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293875)

They are getting paid for it, a nice enough sum that it's worth their health and life. They aren't being forced or coerced into it.

Some would say the difference between life as a dahlit and life as a dahlit after being paid for it is most certainly a form of force and coercion.

Besides, these people don't have much use in society or a future, especially in India's caste society. This is an excellent opportunity for them to contribute something to better mankind and benefit the rest of us. We should be applauding and congratulating them for their sacrifice. We shouldn't try to take this away from them.

So you agree- givent he caste system they don't have any real choice at all.

Re:I'm Fine With It (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14293953)

So you agree- givent he caste system they don't have any real choice at all.

And yet, if it were up to people like you, you would deny them even this opportunity and make their lives even worse.

It is people like you that would rather the poor stay poor rather then allow them any chance because of your own guilty conscience.

Re:I'm Fine With It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14294025)

Best comment I've ever read.

Re:I'm Fine With It (1)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294073)

so can we expect YOU to be first in the queue to be a guinea pig then???

Re:I'm Fine With It (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14294094)

You are the most callous person I have seen among the ./ crowd.

Sure, let the street girls turn the tricks. They are getting paid for it. Otherwise they might end up on welfare and we will have to share the burden of assisting them through taxes.

Re:I'm Fine With It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14294096)

Yet overthrowing the caste system and moving to a system where a person's actual ability and talent decides their future rather than their parents never occurred to you?

Maybe you choked a little too long on that silver spoon of yours as a baby, the lack of oxygen seems to have gotten to your brain.

Re:I'm Fine With It (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294176)

If it were up to me to begin with, there would be no rich, no poor, no trade, no money, and no caste system. I find artificial divisions among human beings to be slightly absurd.

Re:I'm Fine With It (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14293893)

If you have seen the film "Constant Gardener", you can see the problems associated with this practice. The main problem is lack of accountability. So what if a couple people die from these drug tests. They are poor, no one is going to miss them. No one will fight for them.

Re:I'm Fine With It (1, Insightful)

damsa (840364) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293967)

Maybe we can put some of these poor into concentrated areas. Maybe camps. Maybe call them concentrated camps or maybe concentration camps where you can perform drug tests, and also other helpful experiments.

Re:I'm Fine With It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14294139)

That is a disgusting, offensive comparison which is totally wrong. It makes you come of sounding like a racist.

Re:I'm Fine With It (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14294062)

If you're fine with it, how 'bout you and your kinfolk signing up for testing? Step up. I'll applaud...

Re:I'm Fine With It (1)

raider_red (156642) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294156)

So, are you willing to bite the bullet and take one for humanity? If not, you shouldn't expect anyone else too. This is another example of countries in Europe and North America benefitting from someone else's suffering.

First Post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14293833)

Good for them!

This is the best idea I have heard in months (2, Funny)

Sexual Asspussy (453406) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293836)

Bill and Melinda Gates should get in on this. America's own Tuskeegee experiements proved the scientific worth of experimenting on the poor. Cheers all around.

And? (2, Insightful)

jonathonklem (939915) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293838)

How can giving poor people money for taking medication that may be a little risky be a bad thing? Especially if their participation could eventually lead to better medication that saves lives....

Re:And? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14293921)

In another incident, Sun Pharmaceuticals convinced doctors to prescribe Letrozole, a breast cancer drug, to more than 400 women as a fertility treatment in a covert clinical trial

Well, I guess its OK to lie to people as long as you pay them. Morals and ethics be damned, I want my stock price to soooooaaaaaaarrrrrrr!

Re:And? (1)

John.P.Jones (601028) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294084)

> How can giving poor people money for taking medication that may be a little risky be a bad thing?

This should be obvious...

A poor villager with insufficient medical care could probably be aided by a routine (in the west) procedure but there is no research money in that. Research money is given for risky new procedures. The poor villager is left with the sub-standard options of no treatment or risky treatment while the medically optimal treatment is not available.

Medical research should be strictly reserved for terminal patients with no other options not terminally poor patients with no affordable options.

Ethics (5, Insightful)

Winckle (870180) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293842)

"Doctors are easier to recruit for trials because they don't have to go through the same ethics procedures as their Western colleagues," Ecks said. "And patients ask fewer questions about what is going on."
I can't tell if he's being serious, but if he truly does have no moral qualms about that last statement, then he frightens me.

Re:Ethics (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14293919)

The sad part is, it doesn't really matter. That's the way things are, when you're poor and sick you're willing to try nearly anything. Even experimental drugs. If for no other reason than you can't afford anything else.

We like to talk about how it sucks our jobs get outsourced to India (and rightfully so, in my eyes), but we have to realize that India is still an incredibly poor country.

Re:Ethics (2, Interesting)

d.valued (150022) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293931)

This is an old story.. I believe I heard it on NPR more than half a year ago.

There are certain upsides for the patients. Yes, they're risking their lives for the chance at health, but in return they are at least getting some medical care. If they're lucky some previously unknown ailment will disqualify them from the study, and get them into one which is more appropriate.

As a lab rat without health insurance, most of my medical care has been through such studies. I get the meds I need to keep on breathing, as well as a shot at something which may make my life more bearable.

Re:Ethics (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293964)

I can't tell if he's being serious, but if he truly does have no moral qualms about that last statement, then he frightens me.

Ethics is something you can either away with in your own mind and/or other people. Even killing a baby to prevent it from crying that would certainly kill a large group of people including the baby can be considered ethical. (Classic ethics "what if" kinda like the silly tree falling in the woods thing).

I've often wondered who really does human testing of new drugs. There has to be a jump from feeding them to animals to evaluate LD50 values and other side effects to humans. I have to refrain from the details, but there have been pretty nasty government experiments by on syphilis and other countries with a variety of stuff (horrible nasty stuff, I'll save the details from the children that read this site) that although it was not deemed ethical or moral, but the information was used because the results were interesting and could or would not be performed by others.

I can't be any more specifically vague today. I'm sure a few people know or can find out the details that I'm alluding to.

Re:Ethics (2, Insightful)

penguinoid (724646) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293989)

I think he is stating a fact, as viewed from the corporations' eyes. If there were no ethical questins, this wouldn't have made the news.

Re:Ethics (1)

andy1307 (656570) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294001)

ethics procedures as their Western colleagues

Why do people assume taking ethics courses makes people more ethical. I'm sure Jeffrey Skilling and Ken Lay too ethics courses when they got their MBAs.

Re:Ethics (1)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294121)

I'll admit I don't much about MBAs, but I wasn't aware that ethics was any part of it. At least, I've never seen any indication of it.

Pff.. (4, Funny)

iSeal (854481) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293843)

So first they took away our call centers... Then they took away our IT jobs... Now they're taking our priviledge to test dangerous drugs on the poor and destitute?

Damn you trained and abled Indian workforce!

Re:Pff.. (4, Interesting)

metternich (888601) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293888)

In all seriousness though, it is the US poor who volunteer to praticipate in research studies here too. I have one friend who paid her way through college doing this.

Re:Pff.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14293932)

About that, how's that third arm she grew doing?

Seriously, did you think you could post something like that and not get a stupid joke in response?

Trinity (2, Funny)

955301 (209856) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294036)


I know her as well, and it's been a real boon for her. Turns out her second head can control it almost entirely so her grades are unnatural. And don't let her challenge you to a game of twister.

Re:Pff.. (0, Troll)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294047)

What ever happened to requesting a grant these days? God forbid she actually has to WORK to EARN that money. Gasp...NO! She must be too good for "Blue Collar" huh.

God damn! What happend to work ethic in this country?

Re:Pff.. (1)

metternich (888601) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294105)

Actually she was trying to get a real job, but unsuccessfully. It's rather difficult if you're in a small town, you can only work part time, and you don't have much experience.

Re:Pff.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14294173)

its called being smart

Re:Pff.. (4, Funny)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294107)

I have a (male) friend who did that too. As a bonus he can code faster than anyone I know using his third arm.

Re:Pff.. (1)

hzs202 (932886) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293965)

So first they took away our call centers... Then they took away our IT jobs... Now they're taking our priviledge to test dangerous drugs on the poor and destitute?

Are you kidding? Americans are the world leaders in testing drugs on the "poor and destitute", in fact I'm sure there is an RFC somewhere out there concerning The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment [infoplease.com] . If you didn't know... now you do!

outsourcing (4, Funny)

jimbolauski (882977) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293844)

I guess India's poor cost less to test on the the US bunny rabbit, I for one can not believe companies would take away jobs from som many bunnies I can't even imagine how bunnies can take care of their large families.

Re:outsourcing (2, Insightful)

Pxtl (151020) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293918)

Please tell me that these posters aren't serious. Why don't we just eat their babies? After all, it will let the Indian poor have a means of useful production and keep their population growth down.

No Surprise (4, Insightful)

ben_white (639603) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293845)

I find this quite disturbing. I, however, am not surprised. I have been in academic medicine for 15 years, and have seen the requirements for human research change to the point that many clinicians have just given up any hope of being able to practice and participate in meaningful clinical trials due to the exploding amount of red tape. Of course the red tape does serve a purpose; from the article:
In another incident, Sun Pharmaceuticals convinced doctors to prescribe Letrozole, a breast cancer drug, to more than 400 women as a fertility treatment in a covert clinical trial -- and used the results to promote the drug for the unapproved use.
This type of problem was not terribly uncommon in the past in the US (and I assume other industrialized nations), but is not common now, due to the oversight of clinical trials we have now.

Re:No Surprise (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293924)

Seems to me I remember a fertility treatment called thalidomide....and a bunch of babies born without arms and legs being the reason for that.

Isn't it amazing how profit creates short memories?

Re:No Surprise (4, Informative)

ben_white (639603) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294009)

Seems to me I remember a fertility treatment called thalidomide....and a bunch of babies born without arms and legs being the reason for that. Isn't it amazing how profit creates short memories?
Not a fertility treatment, but a treatment for morning sickness (see here [wikipedia.org] ). And interestingly enough, never approved for distribution in the US (until 1998 for leprosy and myeloma).

Re:No Surprise (3, Insightful)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294122)

Seems to me I remember a fertility treatment called thalidomide....and a bunch of babies born without arms and legs being the reason for that.

IT was not a fertility treatment... it was prescribed to reduce morning sickness...

Isn't it amazing how profit creates short memories?

NOT for me... my brother is one of the victims

Re:No Surprise (1)

Marxist Hacker 42 (638312) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294161)

I have a short memory as well it seems- but still, it seems to me that experimental medicines on pregnant or soon to be pregnant women is a really bad idea....

Re:No Surprise (1)

bignobody (933871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293969)

In another incident, Sun Pharmaceuticals convinced doctors to prescribe Letrozole, a breast cancer drug, to more than 400 women as a fertility treatment in a covert clinical trial -- and used the results to promote the drug for the unapproved use.

"It was only a couple of flipper-babies!" - Kids In The Hall, Braincandy

Generic versions of patented drugs (5, Insightful)

op12 (830015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293846)

FTA: "But in March, everything changed when India submitted to pressure from the World Trade Organization to stop the practice and implement rules that prohibit local companies from creating generic versions of patented drugs."

WHy do they want to prevent that? What about in the U.S. where we have things like Walgreen's Wal-tussin to compete with Robitussin (same ingredients, cheaper cost for the consumer)? (same with Sudafed, etc.) Does this fall under the kind of thing WTO wants to stop?

Re:Generic versions of patented drugs (5, Insightful)

slavemowgli (585321) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293916)

Non-cynical answer: the difference is "patented". Robitussin's active ingredient was patented in the 1950s, so the patent has long since run out, and everyone's free to recreate it.

Cynical answer: the difference is that the USA doesn't want Indian companies to hurt the sales of US-American companies. If it's two US-American companies fighting, the USA as a whole don't lose anything, but if it's foreign companies...

I think there's some truth in both answers.

Re:Generic versions of patented drugs (2, Informative)

ehiris (214677) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294170)

What these companies try to do is keep high prices even if their labor costs go down in low income regions. To maintain their profits high amid lowered costs they lobby for protective rules that inhibit competition.

Both the USA and other countries lose from anti-competition rules.

Re:Generic versions of patented drugs (1)

clevelandguru (612010) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293938)

All those generics that you find in Walgreen's are for drugs where the patent has expired.

Re:Generic versions of patented drugs (1)

andy1307 (656570) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293945)

In the US, generic versions are created after the patent expires. In India, they have process patents. You can make a Viagaralike drug that's identical to the Pfizer drug as long as you use a different process. It's basically a legal ripoff.

!!!!tsoP tsriF (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14293851)

Forst Pist !!!! eat it dorks!!!!!11!!1!!!11!!1!1!11!

why not....? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14293853)

after all, here in the USA, we've been doing this to our people for many many years. and not only with medication. food, drink, etc.

The Miracle of Birth: The Third World (4, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293865)

> Wired is reporting that a lot of medical research firms are using India's poor as a hot test bed.

The Miracle of Birth, Part 2: The Third World

Mom: Come on, now. Out you go. Now, uh, Dalip, Bhim, Harinder, Ajit, Indra, Mandeep, it is being past your bedtime.
Kids: Oh, mother!
Mom: Now, not to be arguing! Lakshmi, Sita, Gita, Surinder...
Dad: Wait! I have something to be telling whole family.
Mom: Oh, quick - please to be going and getting the others in, Pradeep.
Kids: What could it be being?
Dad: The call center is closed! There is to be no more work. We are now to live among the untouchable.
Kids: [whispering among themselves]
Dad: Come in my little loves, I am having no option but to be selling you all for scientific experiments.

(Dad goes on to blame the Anglican church for not standing up to the (bloody) Catholics (who are to be filling up the whole world with children they cannot afford to be bloody feeding) when it came to talking about contraception in the UN and WHO forums on overpopulation, and the whole family breaks out into song... You know the rest.)

There are Jews in the world, there are Buddhists,
Anglicans and Catholics, and then,
There are those that outsource to Mohammed, but
I've never been one of them...

"Skilled work force"? (4, Funny)

Hamster Lover (558288) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293871)

Not only are research costs low, but there is a skilled work force to conduct the trials.

Umm, so essentially their skill is they're sick and need drugs? Talk about a back handed compliment. Well, Rahim, you have just the skills we're looking for, Leprosy.

Re:"Skilled work force"? (2, Informative)

damsa (840364) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293948)

No there are people to administer the drugs and take blood tests and the sort, like nurses and the like.

242 year old dupe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14293879)

After first contacts with Europeans and Africans, the death of a large part of the native population of the New World was caused by Old World diseases. Smallpox was the chief culprit. On at least one occasion, germ warfare was attempted by the British Army under Jeffrey Amherst when two smallpox-infected blankets were deliberately given to representatives of the besieging Delaware Indians during Pontiac's Rebellion in 1763. That Amherst intended to spread the disease to the natives is not doubted by historians; whether or not the attempt succeeded is a matter of debate.

One case where less regulation will help! (3, Insightful)

ErichTheRed (39327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293885)

I'm not sure what kind of FDA-equivalent the Indian government has, but there's definitely an advantage to conducting your human trials in places where people aren't breathing down your neck.

I'll bet that India and the rest of the "developing" world will be the next scientific powers given their highly educated and motivated workforce, and the fact that they're a little less backward when it comes to science. Example: South Korea is taking on a cloning project while we're still fighting over teaching evolution in school, abortion and stem cell research.

Sometimes it makes me wish we'd let the South win the civil war. They could live in backward redneck-land and the rest of the country could get on with evolving the species.

Re:One case where less regulation will help! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14293946)

how does the Indian government allowing unethical tests on its poor population turn into "bash people who live in the Southern US?" oh wait, this is slashdot

Re:One case where less regulation will help! (1)

SamLJones (930806) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294033)

What does opposing/supporting infanticide have to do with scientific prowess?

Re:One case where less regulation will help! (3, Insightful)

buhatkj (712163) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294187)

Are you honestly trying to say that you think that the US is more "backward" than India??
Amazing...
I would have thought that the penchant of people in the USA to question the morality or ethical repercussions of a scientific pursuit show maturity and a lack of willingness to sacrifice our humanity for some megalomaniacal pursuit of "progress".
I'm sure we can all think of something we wish we could un-invent (weaponized atomic energy, nerve gas, communism). Science is a wonderful thing, but in order to benefit from it we need ethics and morality to direct our pursuits. If all we do is come up with better ways to kill each other and perpetuate the devaluation of human life we have accomplished nothing of value.

Somehow I think if they were grabbing homeless people off the streets of your town and testing drugs on them without regulatory protections (which is what this amounts to...) that you would sing a different tune. Especially if you were one of those people.

Okay (4, Insightful)

joemawlma (897746) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293899)

How is this any different than the poor people here who get paid to test drugs? Just because it's happening in India now as well it's news? Yes India is another developed country just like ours with people who want to get paid to pop pills. As well as get paid to do all the same things we do. It's not like they're an alien race or something.

Re:Okay (2, Informative)

Cro Magnon (467622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294148)

The reason it's different is because it deprives OUR poor, jobless losers the chance to earn money as guinea pigs.

Straight from the movies ... (4, Insightful)

cpn2000 (660758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293904)

The Constant Gardener [imdb.com] anyone?

Re:Straight from the movies ... (1)

Morganth (137341) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294093)

Yea, didn't the conservative bloggers just get finished telling us that the Constant Gardener was nothing but leftist conspiracy theory nonsense? Anti-capitalism propaganda?

Or was it just that the movie actually raised the ethical question of what corporations can and cannot do in an effort to lower costs and raise profits, particularly Big Pharma? Now that we see it is happening, maybe we should start discussing it, rather than brushing it under the rug as the "pro-business" people do.

Celebrity Spokesperson Richard Gere Speaks out! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14293910)

For the UBGPG (US Brotherhood of Guinea Pigs and Gerbils): "Don't outsource our future! Drive American! Test American! Insert American!"

On the upside... (1)

timmy_otoole (516019) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293926)

They'll be able afford those $100 laptops.

WWII (3, Interesting)

Pao|o (92817) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293928)

I do recall that a lot of the medical advancements we are enjoying today are a result of the many barbaric experiments done by Nazi scientists on their prisoners back in WWII. So are the insights they gained from their immoral experiements bad enough that we shouldnt use it on moral grounds?

Re:WWII (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14293996)

The research is already done and if it would help people, it would be immoral not to use it.

Another Similarity (1)

Flwyd (607088) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293941)

Just like in The Gold Rush [imdb.com] , many Indians are forced to eat their own shoes to survive.

Low self-esteem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14293947)

I realize that countries with less financial clout than the U.S. have a hard time building up their infrastructure. But seriously, how much do you de-value your people before you've done more harm than good? If you never show the world that you're worth more than being the place to get your discount call-center-answerer/human-lab-rat, how do you ever expect them to see you as anything else? It's a difficult climb in the modern westernized world to financial strength, but this certainly seems like a horrible idea.

This website is so fucked. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14293951)

If digg.com can implement a decent comment system, then this site is finished. http://www.digg.com/search?search=india&submit=Sub mit [digg.com]

Outsourcing guinea pigs (2, Interesting)

penguinoid (724646) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293954)

"Not only are research costs low, but there is a skilled work force to conduct the trials," he said. In the rush to reap profits, Philpott cautions that drug companies may not be sensitive to how poverty can undermine the spirit of informed consent. "Individuals who participate in Indian clinical trials usually won't be educated. Offering $100 may be undue enticement; they may not even realize that they are being coerced," he said.

"Doctors are easier to recruit for trials because they don't have to go through the same ethics procedures as their Western colleagues," Ecks said. "And patients ask fewer questions about what is going on."


Hmm. There are obviously some ethical questions here, but I think that it is for the best. Cheaper trials means more research, and the tests are only conducted when it is almost certain to succeed. The US is much too stringent with medicine, because of lawsuits. People with shorter life expectancies don't care quite as much about the risks of testing drugs, and the sooner drugs are out there helping people, the better.

Cue comments about how this is the most evil thing ever, and that nothing is as valuable as a human life (which is why, instead of buying christmas presents, you will donate to third world countries' medicine.)

Re:Outsourcing guinea pigs (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294066)

Asshat alert: "which is why, instead of buying christmas presents, you will donate to third world countries' medicine"

We've already established this is a shitty argument to make. I can't find the posts where it gets thoroughly put down, but I'm sure someone will dig up the full response.

Question: How come you're posting on /. instead of helping to find a cure for breast cancer????

Answer: Because you don't care / it isn't important to you / you have better things to do / it doesn't interest you / blah blah blah

I could ask why you're spending your money on overpriced fast food instead of giving it to feed starving children in Somalia, but I doubt you'd have a decent response.

spongE (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14293957)

This very moment, clear she 3ouldn't show that FreeBSD You get distracted people's faces is Are about 7000/5 Notorious OpenBSD problems that I've prima donnas, and official GNAA irc

move along, nothing new here (4, Interesting)

RhettLivingston (544140) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293981)

In fact, this is one of the biggest problems in our current medical knowledgebase. Many important drug and poison studies have been conducted in India due to its unique mix of being technologically advanced enough to manage a study, structured enough to organize them, and having a large body of people willing to join them.

The big downside is that India is not an ethnically diverse country. Thus, the results are not necessarily transferrable.

Back in the '50s and '60s, the PCB studies were performed in India. PCBs were found to be highly toxic. It wasn't until the '70s and '80s that followup studies identified the fact that PCBs are vastly (as in 100x type vastly) more toxic to people of Indian and Japanese descent than to people of Caucasion and African descent. If the studies had been done in South America, America, Canada, or Europe, we'd probably still be using PCBs all over the place.

It is critical for the further advancement of medicine that we move beyond our current statistical approach to medicine and studies and start defining which genetic and environmental factors are indications or contraindications for specific medicines. Many medicines kill some people and save others. Rather than tossing them aside, we must start learning to identify when they will kill and when they will save. That requires tests across diverse populations. India doesn't qualify.

Re:move along, nothing new here (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14294099)

The big downside is that India is not an ethnically diverse country. Thus, the results are not necessarily transferrable.

I beg to differ. India is not only ethnically, but linguistically very diverse. Although, I suppose everyone is kinda darkish, so they might all look the same, but they're not...

Re:move along, nothing new here (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294141)

For those that still think that PCB stands for printed circuit board, or it may mean this [epa.gov] , in this context it is "plasma kinetics of procarbazine" that appears to be an anti-cancer thing.

For me being a white boy, I wouldn't take something that was 100x more toxic in people over there. I'll stick to the stuff that isn't known to readily kill any human after determining that its OK (by the survival or death of others, right?!?).

No, I don't mean the stuff that they just put on TV ads like this [ama-assn.org] . I'd take a risk of an STD (standard deviation) to get to know the author of this piece [typepad.com] .

Karma (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14293983)

Karma says you take the good American jobs, you get the bad ones too. Nelson says ha ha.

Animal rights activist sheer! (3, Funny)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 8 years ago | (#14293992)

In other news: No more animals are used for testing, all animal rights activist rejoice!

I think it is great! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14294013)

Less competition for us!

Testing on America's poor too... (2, Informative)

digitaldc (879047) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294017)

http://www.novartisclinicaltrials.com/etrials/home .do?pl_id=bmretk000019 [novartiscl...trials.com]
http://www.soyouwanna.com/site/syws/guineapig/guin eapigFULL.html [soyouwanna.com]

Why go to India's poor ? The poor in the US can go to these links and do all types of experiments, for a variety of disorders.

$$$ greater than Human life? (4, Insightful)

Ostien (893052) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294024)

This isin't about saving a few bucks (yes I know its more then a few bucks) on medical testing its about not respecting human life in an equal manner.

"Third World lives are worth much less than the European lives. That is what colonialism was all about," said Srirupa Prasad, a visiting assistant professor of medical history and bioethics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

hits the nail on the head. unfortunatly.

examples like this are common in medicine (4, Interesting)

seanduffy (930895) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294026)

Sadly, abusing the underprivileged and poor for medical reasons occurs more frequently than one would think. For example, in addidtion to drug testing, during surgical residencies, most of the interns learn new procedures on the homeless or poor that in the hospital. Residents have to learn techniques somehow, and they are inevitably going to deliever sub-par results the first few times of doing something. Thus, the practice of using the underprivileged as "test-dummies" is unstated but widley accepted. Ideas for solutions to this moral dilemma?

If this isn't a clear-cut example... (1)

Caspian (99221) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294035)

...of the rich exploiting the poor, I don't know what is.

Drugs to india? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14294059)

Oh great as if our customer service isint bad enough already, now we are going to be drugging them to the gills and then sending them to man the phones!!

American calling for health care information: "Could you please tell me if my condition is covered?"

Indian customer service: "One moment sir, Ive got the munchies, be right back"
*transfers the call*
New customer service rep: "Woah man... the phone is all blinkey"

No questions asked... (1)

Chaffar (670874) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294065)

"Doctors are easier to recruit for trials because they don't have to go through the same ethics procedures as their Western colleagues," Ecks said. "And patients ask fewer questions about what is going on."

You know, there's a reason why doctors go through ethics procedures:

[Doctor] Don't worry, the numbness and swelling should go away in a few weeks' time...
[Patient] Grrwaaaaarrrwarrrrrr !

Testing Drugs on America's Poor. Different? (5, Insightful)

Kunta Kinte (323399) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294081)

For years people right here in the US have been selling body fluids and enrolling in drug trials to make extra cash.

But there's a moral issue when it is done in some other country?

Can we quite patronizing the people? They're poor not retarded.

Re:Testing Drugs on America's Poor. Different? (1)

LePrince (604021) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294172)

Yeah, because I'm sure India rules and laws are as strict as they are in the US and that the patients will be treated the exact same. Yeah.

That's where the issue is. In US and Canada, there is drug testing, but the people doing it aren't seen as lab rats; they're seen as human beings. In India, I wouldn't bet a dime that they give a flyin' fuck about the patients.

Good God! (1)

Irvu (248207) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294097)

The days of the Raj are long gone, but multinational corporations are riding high on the trend toward globalization by taking advantage of India's educated work force and deep poverty to turn South Asia into the world's largest clinical-testing petri dish.


God Help us if some new strain of drug-resistent virus (or some lab-made superbug) gets loose in such an environment.

Nevertheless, even before the anti-generic rules were enacted, companies performing clinical trials in India saw their share of problems. In 2004, two India-based pharmaceutical companies, Shantha Biotech in Hyderabad and Biocon in Bangalore, came under scrutiny for conducting illegal clinical trials that led to eight deaths.


No, I'm serious god help us, and god help the poor people who will be a) the first exposed b) the worst cared for and c) the first to die if the disease is mortal.

The perils of genetic variations (4, Insightful)

G4from128k (686170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14294138)

This sounds like a recipe for disaster. I, personally, would avoid drugs that had not been tested on people genetically similar to myself. People are not identical in their ability to absorb, metabolize, respond to, or excrete medications. A drug that works well in one population can easily fail to help (or have fatal side effects) in people in a different population.

The "Body Shop" opens research branch in India (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14294169)

In other news: The "Body Shop" opens research branch in India

Now at least I can rest assured that my shampoo has not been tested but on animals - but on Apu and other human kind to make sure it is safe. I need not know what happens when the shampoo is not safe for humans but I know that fluffy and other animals are safe from the tests.

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