Overseas drug testing

Pharmaceutical companies are conducting drug trials in poorer countries with lax regulation, and sometimes, with almost absent government. This is about Pfizer’s trials in Nigeria.

Diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks show the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer hired investigators to find evidence of corruption against the Nigerian attorney general to pressure him to drop a $6 billion lawsuit over fraudulent drug tests on Nigerian children. Researchers did not obtain signed consent forms, and medical personnel said Pfizer did not tell parents their children were getting the experimental drug. Eleven children died..
This is the next interview which talks more about the process of overseas testing. In the last 10-15 years, drug-testing has increasingly become privatized – pharmaceutical companies pay private companies to do clinical trials. In the past these were often conducted by academic institutions. These private companies move the testing to poorer areas to cut costs –
“In places like China and India, the appeal in those countries is—frankly, it’s jobs. If you’re a doctor in one of those places, the money you may make from signing up people to take these tests may will exceed your annual income from the rest of your practice, so that it’s a tremendous economic incentive in these countries to engage in these tests and to profit from them.”
And only the good trials are reported to the FDA, say, when a drug comes up for approval. The bad trials can be forgotten.

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