Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Outsourcing Medicinal Testing?

Hi all,
I am super busy nowadays... hence the lull in posting... but could not resist to post on this news item about how a hostpital in Sevagram [yes, where Gandhiji had his ashram] is letting its subjects be used as guinea pigs to medicinal testing.

From the article "A Nation of Guinea Pigs":

The drug regimen, known as Aggrenox, was being tested for its ability to forestall a second stroke. S. P. Kalantri, the doctor tapped to lead the trial in Sevagram, quickly grasped the offer's appeal. Patients in Sevagram are poor enough that the benefits of taking part in the study would amount to a health care windfall; among other things, Boehringer Ingelheim guaranteed participants two physicals during each of the three years that the trial would run. For each person enrolled, moreover, the hospital would receive 30,000 rupees (about $665) - no small amount, given the puny budget of the center's stroke ward, a single room of eight pallet beds. Kalantri talked the matter over with the chair of the hospital's ethics committee, and the two concluded that the trial drug itself, with its possible side effects and limited efficacy, would provide little benefit to their patients. Then they went ahead and signed up.
Little by little, however, Kalantri began to see the problematic side of outsourced trials. "When I try to explain that a drug is experimental, that it might not work, the understanding is not there," he observes. "One woman said to me, 'What do you mean, the drug might not work? All drugs work!'"

Interesting.... I recommend reading the whole article..

I _so_ look forward to going back my motherland... it will be an interesting phase of my life.

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