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Medicine Science

The Problems With Drug Testing 166

gallifreyan99 writes: Every drug you take will have been tested on people before it—but that testing process is meant to be tightly controlled, for the safety of everyone involved. Two investigations document the questionable methods used in many studies, and the lack of oversight the FDA seems to have over the process. First, drugs are increasingly being tested on homeless, destitute and mentally ill people. Second, it turns out many human trials are being run by doctors who have had their licenses revoked for drug addiction, malpractice and worse.
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The Problems With Drug Testing

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  • by saloomy ( 2817221 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @05:43PM (#47570119)
    Not to be seen as a classist biggot, but if someone homeless or destitute, but understand the nature of the proposition, why shouldn't they be able to enter an agreement to test drugs that 1) might help whatever the condition being treated is and 2) render them with some income? The same opportunities should be afforded them as others. You can't exclude someone because they are homeless or destitute. I would argue that Mentally-Ill persons can not enter into such an agreement knowingly (without the consent of a care giver), and unless the drug was treating for that ailment, any mental side-effects would be difficult to discern from the original mental illness, and render the result suspect anyways.... just by $0.02
  • by CelticWhisper ( 601755 ) <celticwhisper AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @05:45PM (#47570133)

    Right there with you, but that isn't the kind of drug testing TFA is talking about. This is referring to "clinical trial" tests as part of the approval process for new-to-market pharmaceuticals.

  • by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @05:58PM (#47570267) Journal
    From Big Pharma's perspective, with the involuntary testing of prison inmates off the table in most Western countries, the homeless population presents a viable alternative who are statistically unlikely to pursue litigation.

    From a humanitarian perspective, the quandary is "Do we want to allow the weakest among us to make decisions they are unqualified to properly weigh?"

    I will leave the ethics to others, but ultimately, as future consumers of these tested pharmaceuticals, do we want to rely on results that are likely skewed because the test subjects were also taking heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine?

  • by mythosaz ( 572040 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @06:06PM (#47570319)

    Hear hear!

    We should remove other decisions from the weakest among us. Why let them enter into legal contracts regarding their own health and finance when we're certainly more capable of doing it for them. We're just protecting them, after all.

  • by viperidaenz ( 2515578 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @06:15PM (#47570397)

    If I was homeless and had a crack at suing a big pharma company for millions with absolutely nothing to lose, I think I'd take a shot at it.
    It's not like they could sue me back. Just need to find a lawyer who wants a 50% take of the damages.

  • Ten Million (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @07:25PM (#47570857) Homepage Journal

    That's how many people (mostly children) have died of malaria since the investigators knew they had a working vaccine in the mid-90's.

    That vaccine might actually see the light of day this year, but the regulators are hinting that they might deny approval because it's not tremendously effective in infants.

    Because, you know, IN FUCKING THEORY, somebody might get injured from the vaccine.

    I'm sorry, the blood of ten million mostly-children on the hands of regulators gets me a bit worked up. And now they're staring at their naval because an investigator might also have a drinking problem? Oh, man, I better hit submit before I say something I might regret.

  • by sjames ( 1099 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @08:41PM (#47571249) Homepage Journal

    Not really. They need only prove to be slightly better than placebo in a flawed study.

    For example, in the SSRI studies, the side effects of the drugs effectively unblinded all of them.

    That's why we see expensive new drugs get to the market when less expensive drugs with equal or better effectiveness and a better history of safety already exist.

  • by conureman ( 748753 ) on Wednesday July 30, 2014 @10:22PM (#47571693)

    Your sampling is skewed towards the homeless population that is willing to go to a church.
    You should get to know some other homeless people.

I am more bored than you could ever possibly be. Go back to work.