Friday, October 16, 2009

By Stuart Chaifetz

Tales from the Dark Side of Big Pharma, Part 14,638
The Never Ending Story
When I started the “Dark Side of Big Pharma” series, I envisioned three or four blogs that dealt with fraud and corruption within the Pharmaceutical industry. I thought that under this banner I could take a little time and explore the human ramifications of drug testing, and then go back to more animal centric experimentation.
Once I began to research these issues, and saw how seemingly endless the controversies regarding Human Clinical Trials and fraud were, what started out as “Dark Side” I, II, III, expanded quickly to IV, V, and then threatened to escalate to blogs X, XX and that most interesting of all Roman numeral combinations, good ol’ XXX (perhaps then I would have found a ‘happy ending’ to this series).

In other words, I found so much corruption, misconduct and serious, even fatal, consequences of human testing of drugs, that this series just wasn’t going to end. So I’ll be dropping the “Dark Side” moniker, and from here on out all issues relating to the Pharmaceutical industry, both human and animal, will simply fall under the normal blog heading (until the next time I get it in my head to do a nice and tidy miniseries which spins completely out of control).
Speaking of human experiments gone wild, this past week a major scandal broke regarding a drug study at Columbia University. Read about that here. I would also point you to our website, and the “Special Report” section, where you will find a story titled “Animal Research Disaster: The ‘Elephant Man’ Drug Victims,”
another story of a clinical trial gone horribly wrong.
These stories are so shocking and outrageous that by their nature they would be picked up by the media, but what if the harm caused was more subtle, and not of this magnitude? What if instead of dozens of people effected, just a few suffered long term detrimental effects from a clinical trial? With insignificant oversight from the FDA, and Institutional Review Boards shown to be open to fraud and corruption, is there really anyone looking out for the well being of human test subjects?
And while all this is happening here in the United States, what is going on overseas, in third world countries, where human trials are being farmed out in exponential like numbers, and where the power of Big Pharma is nearly unrestrained? In Africa and Asia, in democracies and dictatorships...
And that’s were we are headed to next time.

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