Testing New Drugs: Are People Guinea Pigs?
Experts wrestle with the ethics of clinical trials. A doctor specializing in HIV medicine, a bioethics lawyer, and a top FDA official outline the complex issues surrounding the development and testing of new drugs. They explain the standards now in place for conducting clinical trials and the exceptionally difficult task of conducting placebo control trials that are fair to all the participants. The guests touch on the role of drug companies, consent issues, and the need for a rigorous accreditation program for institutions conducting the trials. There is also a spirited call for more scrutiny of drug testing in the less-developed world, and they suggest that drug companies have an obligation to educate local medical professionals about western practices and to leave behind a solid infrastructure of medical facilities and equipment. With Alexander Capron, Andrea Kovacs, Robert Temple.