The Newest Dirty Little Secret: Who Signs Up For Human Drug Trials?

I devote a good deal of space on my Web site to news about recent and, often, failed drug trials. With that in mind, you'll want to read this terrific story that sheds a ton of light on just how poorly regulated the business of testing truly is.

It starts, of course, with the FDA, a federal agency ill equipped to protect anyone, except the interests of drug companies, that has outsourced much of those responsibilities to institutional review boards.

These firms are funded by the mega-pharmaceuticals, generally operate in secrecy and have far more to gain by reporting good news to their clients than bad. So, it shouldn't shock you the victims of these barely regulated trials are among the poorest and most disadvantaged among us: Undocumented immigrants desperate for cash to send home somewhere in Latin America.

Some frightening numbers:

  • The pricetag for testing experimental drugs in this country: $14 billion.
  • The number of people in this country who have participated in human drug trials: An astounding 3.7 million.
  • The number of U.S. drug testing centers, some of which employ poorly trained and unlicensed clinicians: 15,000.

All the more reason, you should stay as far away as you can from prescription drugs...

Northwest Herald Online November 6, 2005

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