Originally published November 14 2007
Pharmaceutical Drugs and Human Guinea Pigs
by Michael Cambray
(NaturalNews) It has been publicly suggested in the UK Sunday Times, 30th September 07, by one of Britain's most senior scientists, Professor Colin Blakemore, (the out-going chief executive of the government funded Medical Research Council), that humans should be used as guinea pigs by chemical companies to cut the costs and time of developing medicines.
Professor Blakemore insists that extensive and expensive trials on animals could be cut by up to 90%. This could be done by testing new drugs directly on patients instead of wasting time on animals. Additionally fewer people need to be trialed before approval. It is claimed the current animal drug trials methodology involves extensive experiments, costing hundreds of millions of dollars and takes up to 10 years to bring to the market place.
The professor admits that his proposals raise ethical issues about placing the advancement of medical science and development of new drugs before the welfare of individual patients. Professor Blakemore admits that there are ethical problems because people are actually acting as guinea pigs. He says, "The new approach is not only for the benefit of the individual but for the broader good of the community".
He also claims, "Patients ought to feel a duty to take part in medical trials". He added, "It will be done with the full understanding and consent of the individuals".
It is interesting that a retiring senior member of Britain's Medical Research Council should express such a controversial opinion. The pharmaceutical multinationals have an appalling record with drug testing already, without such a risky and perilous suggestion being actively promoted.
As a naturopath I have often commented upon my concerns about the long term testing of new drugs. It seems very few medicinal drugs available from pharmaceutical companies have been truly long term tested before being placed on the market. (Despite regulations to the contrary).
Most people are unaware that for many years drugs have already been tested on patients, we are already guinea pigs!
How often a doctor has pulled a packet or bottle from his drawer during a visit and said," try these and let me know how they go". Don't do it, you are being guinea pigged!
These giant multi billion dollar drug conglomerates were originally supposed to have their new products tested by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, the FDA is generally regarded as toothless, infiltrated by ex drug company employees and overwhelmed by a constant supply of new drugs, so the drug companies are often doing their own testing, with predictable results.
According to a report from the FDA, 797 of the 1231 trials supposed to have been commenced last year have yet to start. They also reported the obvious fact that failure to complete tests could place consumers at risk.
Generally the regulators monitor drug safety through voluntary reporting by doctors and pharmacists on any side effects, a system that has obvious drawbacks. This pattern causes a severe under reporting, leading both doctors and patients to believe drugs are much safer than they really are.
The subject of drug testing has long been a cause of suspected cover-ups and lies by multinational companies.
There are literally dozens of reports of humans being tested with new drugs in third world countries, mostly without being told what the drugs were for and not being advised of their right of refusal. In 1996 Reuter's news agency reported the drug company Pfizer tested an unapproved drug Trovan on children in Nigeria. Five children died and many contracted brain damage and arthritis.
This year the Nigerian government finally attempted to sue Pfizer, who of course deny everything.
In England two years ago six backpackers were tempted by an offer of $5,000 each from the drug company TeGenero who apparently were aware of great concern over the dangers of the drug, TGN1412, but went ahead with the tests anyway. In the process they destroyed the lives of the six volunteers and their families.
According to Time magazine, (April22nd 02) since 1997 even pesticide makers have submitted more than a dozen human studies to the Environmental Protection Agency. Time reports as recently as nine years ago college students in Nebraska, America were offered $460 each to swallow a pill containing pesticide.
The results were found to cause brain damage, weakness and vomiting and the pesticide concerned, chlorpyrifos, was subsequently banned.
Genuine long term tests now appear to be virtually non existent. It seems to be 'let's get the drug out in the market and see what happens!'
A classic example is the new Merck drug Gardisil recently released when it was only approved less than a year ago. It is to suppose to prevent cervical cancer in young girls and women. There are already a long list of complaints and side effects from Gardisil all over the world, including a reported five deaths. The Adverse Event Reporting System (AERS) currently shows 82 reactions ranging from seizures to black-outs. It is still being heavily promoted and even being suggested as suitable for young boys. That would seem to be a desperate wild card to create an 'ill for a pill' and surely difficult to justify.
An important fact that seems to have been totally missed is nobody, anywhere, appears to have tested the long term reactions in the body of more than one drug being taken at the same time.
There is growing evidence that the public need to be much more aware of the dangerous possibilities in a cocktail of drugs.
If he thinks volunteering is a 'duty' it would be interesting to see if Professor Blakemore would offer himself as a guinea pig.
Michael is a naturopath with nearly 30 years experience and is now semi-retired. Michael has 13 published books on various health topics. Michael would be delighted to make contact.
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.myozhealth.com (being improved at present)
About the authorMichael Cambray is a retired naturopath and has accumulated specialised knowledge of many alternative health subjects over the past thirty years. Michael has diplomas in many alternative subjects and has published 13 books on various topics plus a popular Australian monthly newsletter.
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