The Vitamin Kid

Avoiding bad medicine and finding non-toxic treatments that actually work

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Location: Ankeny, Iowa, United States

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Advancing medical science on the backs of the poor

Now we are outsourcing guinea pigs. Few US patients want to participate in controlled studies of new drugs. Pharmaceutical companies have found it easier to conduct trials overseas by paying what appears to some as a bribe to doctors in India, who enroll their poor, mostly ignorant, and very compliant patients in programs to test untested drugs for safety and effectiveness.

"The drug regimen, known as Aggrenox, was being tested for its ability to forestall a second stroke. S. P. Kalantri, the doctor tapped to lead the trial in Sevagram, quickly grasped the offer's appeal. Patients in Sevagram are poor enough that the benefits of taking part in the study would amount to a health care windfall; among other things, Boehringer Ingelheim guaranteed participants two physicals during each of the three years that the trial would run. For each person enrolled, moreover, the hospital would receive 30,000 rupees (about $665)
- no small amount, given the puny budget of the center's stroke ward, a single room of eight pallet beds. Kalantri talked the matter over with the chair of the hospital's ethics committee, and the two concluded that the trial drug itself, with its possible side effects and limited efficacy, would provide
little benefit to their patients. Then they went ahead and signed up. "

Read the rest of the article HERE.