In the January 19, 2008 issue of the British medical journal The Lancet, author Samuel Lowenberg brings up a number of serious questions relating to ethics and drug trials done by the pharmaceutical industry. After reading his brief two page review, it is apparent that a major overhaul in the way clinical trials are done is in order. The trail of abuse is international in scope and has possibly caused the deaths of innocent children.
According to Tikki Pang, the World Health Organization’s director of Research Policy and Cooperation, “The trials that are being done overseas by drug companies are in a sense secret, because they do not share the information, they site confidentiality and patient protection.” He further goes on to say “Anecdotally, we have heard many, many instances in India, China and other countries of the possibility of ethical safeguards not being followed.” In Nigeria, a number of children died of an experimental anti-meningitis drug Trovan and Pfizer, according to a lawsuit, destroyed data from the trial and gave some of the children a dangerously low dose of Rocephin, a known treatment for meningitis.
It is time for Congress to enact a bill demanding that all drug trial, in the U.S. or abroad, be registered and the results must be shared with the FDA regardless of outcome. The data then must be shared with the public without prejudice and in a timely manner. The nonsense that is pharmaceutical research has got to change. People’s health is at risk and lives are at stake. They are treating third world people like lab rats and this has got to stop.