Image by higlu via FlickrA gripping article in Vanity Fair this month take a look at the outsourcing of clinical trials for proposed prescription drugs.
It's an eye opener. "Many of today’s trials still take place in developed countries, such as Britain, Italy, and Japan. But thousands are taking place in countries with large concentrations of poor, often illiterate people, who in some cases sign consent forms with a thumbprint, or scratch an “X.”
Since the first week of posts on this blog, I have been critical of the FDA and many of the rules, regulations, and efforts by this guardian of the citizens to keep big pharma companies working in a safer way. The FDA fails people like you and me. An excerpt:
One big factor in the shift of clinical trials to foreign countries is a loophole in F.D.A. regulations: if studies in the United States suggest that a drug has no benefit, trials from abroad can often be used in their stead to secure F.D.A. approval. There’s even a term for countries that have shown themselves to be especially amenable when drug companies need positive data fast: they’re called “rescue countries.”
This article - a 21st century version, in shorter form, of The Jungle.
Read it here: http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2011/01/deadly-medicine-201101