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Sun Nov 23, 2014, 02:43 PM

The Best-Selling, Billion-Dollar Pills Tested on Homeless People

Found this article while working on my ethics class in HCA.

Snip from middle of article

To find people like Harold, some contract research organizations have employees visit room-and-boards and homeless shelters. In Philadelphia I met a man named Ed Burns, who explained to me how these recruiters work. Burns and his wife had been on the street for over two years when we spoke; he said they had trouble getting space in shelters, even though his wife is pregnant and Burns has bipolar disorder and depression. “I was on Depakote and I almost killed someone out of anger,” he said. “It made me a wrecking machine.” Burns was living in a shelter when he got a message saying that someone from the Veterans Affairs hospital was waiting outside for him. But when he went outside, he said, he was met by a representative of a research company known as CRI Worldwide.

“I was tired, I was hungry, and half an hour earlier the police had treated us like crap,” Burns said. “And this woman is saying, ‘Imagine, in 40 days you’ll have $4,000!’ The recruiter made testing drugs sound like a vacation in a five-star hotel, Burns said. “It’s like a resort selling time shares. They talk about all the benefits first, and it sounds great, but then you start to ask: What do I have to do?”

Not long ago, such offers would have been considered unethical. Paying any volunteer was seen as problematic, even more so if the subjects were poor, uninsured, and compromised by illness. Payment, it was argued, might tempt vulnerable subjects to risk their health. As trials have moved into the private sector, this ethical calculus has changed. First came a hike in the sums that volunteers could be paid: Many clinical trial sites now offer over $6,000 for an inpatient drug study. Eligibility requirements have changed, too. For years, trial sites paid only healthy volunteers, mainly to test new drugs for safety. These days people with asthma, diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, and other conditions can be paid take part in trials.

https://medium.com/matter/did-big-pharma-test-your-meds-on-homeless-people-a6d8d3fc7dfe


This story is the first in a two-part investigative special on problems in the clinical trials industry. The second, which asks why disgraced doctors are allowed to test drugs on human volunteers, is available here

I don't know what to say, this is just sickening.

6 replies, 2392 views

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Reply The Best-Selling, Billion-Dollar Pills Tested on Homeless People (Original post)
Revanchist Nov 2014 OP
Frustratedlady Nov 2014 #1
Cal Carpenter Nov 2014 #2
RiverLover Nov 2014 #3
Wella Nov 2014 #4
Revanchist Nov 2014 #5
Wella Nov 2014 #6

Response to Revanchist (Original post)

Sun Nov 23, 2014, 03:44 PM

1. And, if they haven't been found dead on some park bench...

how do they know where to send the check? I rather doubt they want them to pick it up at headquarters.

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Response to Revanchist (Original post)

Sun Nov 23, 2014, 09:33 PM

2. Thanks for the link

I want to kick this thread because it is a great read. I've only gotten through part 1 but I'm looking forward to part 2.

Another horrible twisted aspect to our for-profit health care system. It should come as no surprise, I guess, given the levels of privatization and the deliberate undermining of the agencies that are supposed to try to regulate things.

It is good to see light shed on these experiments -- more people need to know that this is not just part of our past, like Tuskegee, this sort of unethical exploitation is ongoing.

It also brings to light very important issues of extreme poverty and homelessness in general, and particularly in relation to mental illness.

Anyway, I have a lot of thoughts about it but I'm not very coherent at the moment. Maybe I'll come back and opine later.

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Response to Cal Carpenter (Reply #2)

Sun Nov 23, 2014, 10:04 PM

3. Thanks. It is a good read. Disturbing though. ~nt

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Response to Revanchist (Original post)

Sun Nov 23, 2014, 10:08 PM

4. "As trials have moved into the private sector, this ethical calculus has changed."

 

Yes. Universities now have strict rules about "Human Subjects". The university has to give approvals for what you're doing. Corporations don't have such strict controls.

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Response to Wella (Reply #4)

Sun Nov 23, 2014, 10:42 PM

5. The private institutional review boards are a joke

If they get a reputation of being too strict, the companies will take their business elsewhere and the IRB's know it. They are basically rubber stamping the process and getting caught in the process, from part two of the series:

At least the BioMed IRB checked Berger’s record. In 2009, the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress, submitted a fictitious trial protocol to three review boards. The application contained a number of land mines: the protocol was flawed and the doctor leading the trial was a work of fiction, backed by an invented résumé and falsified medical license. Two of the boards raised questions about aspects of the protocol, but one approved the trial—and its bogus investigator—with only minor modifications.

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Response to Revanchist (Reply #5)

Sun Nov 23, 2014, 10:46 PM

6. Worse than I thought.

 

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