Monday, August 14, 2006

This is bad. Using inmates in drug trials.

This is reallly bad.
Panel Suggests Using Inmates in Drug Trials - New York Times

An influential federal panel of medical advisers has recommended that the government loosen regulations that severely limit the testing of pharmaceuticals on prison inmates, a practice that was all but stopped three decades ago after revelations of abuse...
Who the hell was on this panel? The article is unclear. I think it was an IOM panel, and allegedly their primary criteria was benefit to the prisoners. This will go down as one of the IOM's biggest blunders; they're usually better than this. Professor Kligman, in particular, suffers from a utilitarian fallacy -- please take him off the Penn medical ethics committee.

Recruiting for phase I trials (safety trials) is a really hot potato. One of these trials just killed (they're walking deadmen) five UK citizens, all of whom shared rather poor judgment. Doing these trials ethically is going to greatly increase the cost of drug development -- we'll have to do more primate studies (getting the ethics right there as well - it can be done), more simulations, and we'll have to forget about "volunteers" and start paying professional testers boatloads of money to take significant risks for significant payoffs.

This will come to tears.

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