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Parexel Destroys Immune Systems, Not Liable 429

Posted by Hemos
from the how's-that-cold-coming dept.
A reader writes: "The four TGN1412 test victims learned recently that they have no detectable t-cells, which makes it "likely" (read certain) they will suffer from numerous diseases and truncated lifespans. It has been determined that Parexel was negligent in its aftercare of the victims. The victims have already suffered severe injuries such as gangrene requiring the amputation of all toes and three fingers (without toes you cannot remain standing or walk, btw) and endured unimaginable agony. But it seems Parexel, despite having the moral responsibility for the outcome of its incompetence and the financial ability to pay proper restitution (estimated yearly revenue of $750 million) is ignoring the victims and using the legal system to avoid liability. The lessons are that $4000 is not worth risking your life over, that that is what you are doing if you are foolish enough to volunteer for medical testing whatever promises you receive not withstanding, and that if you are so foolish you will be left to die by the company responsible without legal recourse should things go wrong. In other words, only an ignorant would sign up for medical testing. I predict a decline in voluntary test subjects, and a rise in the use of prisoners and other 'disposable' human subjects."
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Parexel Destroys Immune Systems, Not Liable

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  • India (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sterno (16320) on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:43AM (#15817562) Homepage
    Actually a lot of drug testing is happening in India these days. Lots of capable doctors there and lots of people they consider disposable. Good times.
  • by Demon-Xanth (100910) on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:48AM (#15817603)
    I work at a company in the medical field, and we have to go through various tests and the like to make sure things are safe. But I consider the shirking of responsibility on that company as "Seriously Fucked Up". They should step upto the plate and do everything that they are capable of. If I were one of the people working on that project, I can't describe the feeling I would have knowing that happened.
  • by hsoft (742011) on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:48AM (#15817604) Homepage
    and to warped interpretation. PATRIOT act, guantanamo... You name it. Pharmaceutical corp really *are* evil and powerful.
  • It's horrible, but (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Weaselmancer (533834) on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:52AM (#15817629)

    What part of "testing" didn't the subjects understand before they volunteered?

    I'm not trying to troll, honest. But injecting something brand new into your body before anyone knows exactly what it does is fantastically dangerous. That's probably why you have to sign the waver that's longer than your arm, I'd imagine.

    Still, IMHO the company should help these poor people out even though they don't legally have to. I'm sure the reason why they're not isn't greed so much as a fear of litigation. If they pay them any money, that looks like an admission of guilt.

    Whole situation with liability and lawsuits in this country these days pretty much sucks. It hurts more people than it helps.

  • Decline my... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by pVoid (607584) on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:52AM (#15817630)
    I predict a decline in voluntary test subjects, and a rise in the use of prisoners and other "disposable" human subjects

    Yeah, cause all test subjects are litterate and educated people who aren't starving in their regular lives.

  • by Gnascher (645346) on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:53AM (#15817634)
    Ok ... I didn't RTFA, so I'm not going to comment on that. First, let me state that it sucks to become a "medical victim" no matter how you got there. By my rant below, I don't want to take away from anything they're going through. But, I'm going to take exception to the submitter's parenthetical comment "(without toes you cannot remain standing or walk, btw)", and call utter shenanigans. 1. I know someone who lost half a foot in a m'cycle accident. He walks without a perceptible limp, and can run too ... but looks a little funny running, and can stand very well on his half-foot, while holding the other (good) foot in the air. He is not an athlete, or posessiong of any special abilities ... just an "average joe" who had a bad accident. 2. Stiltwalkers don't have toes at the bottom of thier stilts. They walk and stand fine. 3. People with prothetic legs don't have toes. They stand pretty good too. Some of them even run phenominally well with those snazzy running legs. No toes there. So ... yes, it REALLY SUCKS what these people are suffering due to medical incompetence, but you don't need to add your own un-informed flavor to the headline. 3.
  • by Tim C (15259) on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:53AM (#15817639)
    But could we tone down the flamebait in the submissions a notch?

    People volunteer for medical testing all the time. Most of the time, nothing (serious) goes wrong. Yes, this time, something fucked up big time; a regrettable tragedy, and certainly cause to examine the rules and regulations surrounding testing on humans. But the reason it was such big news is that it's such a rare occurence. If it happened all the time, it wouldn't have been headline news.

    I refuse to believe that this was the best submission on the subject. The submittor is entitled to his opinions, of course, but the place for those opinions is down here with the rest of us, not on the front page.

    Still, got to keep those ad impressions coming somehow, I guess.
  • by eno2001 (527078) on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:54AM (#15817651) Homepage Journal
    ...the cheeseburger bill [bbc.co.uk] that the U.S. passed a few years back. Basically the way it works is this:

    1. You are worthless
    2. Businesses are of incalculable value
    3. Stockholders in said businesses want more and more money so the businesses can't afford to take personal responsibility for the things they do to people
    4. The majority of all politicians in the United States government is unabashedly comprised of stockholders and they make the laws
    5. The businesses don't want to lose money even if they are morally responsible for what they do to you so they lobby for laws that protect them and harm you
    6. You are worthless

    Any questions?
  • Victim bashing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by springbox (853816) on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:54AM (#15817655)
    The lessons are that $4000 is not worth risking your life over, that that is what you are doing if you are foolish enough to volunteer for medical testing whatever promises you receive not withstanding, and that if you are so foolish you will be left to die by the company responsible without legal recourse should things go wrong. In other words, only an ignorant would sign up for medical testing. I predict a decline in voluntary test subjects, and a rise in the use of prisoners and other "disposable" human subjects.

    This was obviously something the submitter put in, and it's pretty disgusting that it would make the front page. If this were a comment I have a feeling it would have been modded down to oblivion. How many times is it necessary to call these people ignornat and foolish?

  • animal testing.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rilister (316428) on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:56AM (#15817665)
    - i believe there's some evidence that TeGenero overlooked/minimised some adverse reactions in primate subjects: if so, they should be hung out to dry by every court in the US and Europe.

    Meanwhile - this is exactly how drugs get developed *all the time*. You can't pick and choose. If you saw some of the benefits that drugs in this class are have for (literally) millions and millions of people around the world, perhaps you might say it's worth it. Potential treatments for cancer, alzheimer's disease, the list is endless.

    After all, these people are volunteers - we couldn't possibly develop new drugs without someone stepping forward to try them. Compare this count (four people, seriously injured) to, say famous cases where too little testing was done: DDT, thalidomide spring to mind.

    Before you wail on 'evil drug' companies treating people as 'disposable', give me one half sensible alternative to regulated drug trials.....
  • Re:India (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrxak (727974) on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:59AM (#15817691)
    I don't get the tone of the submission. First it seems like they're calling the company irresponsible (and it certainly sounds as if they are), but then they seem to be blaming the "test victims" for joining the study, and then they make some rather outrageous predictions. Whoever submitted this article, take a deep breath, try to calm yourself down, and understand that situations like this are rare. And drug companies aren't going to start using prisoners and whatnot for test subjects. I don't really like big pharma either, but I'm not that paranoid. You know, I bet they have a great pill for that... (kidding of course)
  • by PFI_Optix (936301) on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:59AM (#15817693) Journal
    "But it seems Parexel, despite having the moral responsibilty for the outcome of its incompetence


    It would be incompetence if they had released the drug to market, or at least attempted to. The whole point of clinical testing is to look for problems like this that couldn't be predicted, and did not turn up in animal testing.

    The lessons are that $4000 is not worth risking your life over, that that is what you are doing if you are foolish enough to volunteer for medical testing whatever promises you receive not withstanding, and that if you are so foolish you will be left to die by the company responsible without legal recourse should things go wrong.


    Because every company does what this one does, right?

    In other words, only an ignorant would sign up for medical testing.


    Only an ignorant...what? Huh?

    I predict a decline in voluntary test subjects, and a rise in the use of prisoners and other "disposable" human subjects.


    Prisoners can't be used, and I'd say a subject that can be bought for $4,000 is disposable enough for a pharmaceutical. Unless you're saying that they are evil enough to abduct indigents for testing. Of course, the duress of being kidnapped would impact test results making any studies virtually useless, and couldn't very well be used with the FDA.

    I predict "a reader" needs to tighten his TFH.
  • by Cpoff (991199) on Monday July 31, 2006 @10:59AM (#15817694)
    The problem is that just like most other large corporations, the people working on said projects really have no connection to the subjects they are working with. Sure there are the doctors and other employee's who work directly with the test subjects, but the vast majority of the company does not, and therefore despite having "feelings" cannot be bothered to give a damn about them...

    As it hinted at in the summary, its much cheaper to go through litigation and the law, then to payout damages to the people whos lives have been affected. All hail the mighty corporate machine! If you get in the way, you too may lose your toes!
  • Re:India (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Total_Wimp (564548) on Monday July 31, 2006 @11:07AM (#15817757)
    I'm glad someone sensible is posting. By the way, after calming down and taking a big breath, please stop to realize that the whole purpose of drug testing is to, well, test. The drug companies should be doing as much as possible to assure the safety of the drug before the test, but not everything can be forseen. This is why we do testing in the first place.

    The drug companies don't get any bennefit from producing drugs that kill people. They don't do this on purpose.

    TW
  • by EndlessNameless (673105) on Monday July 31, 2006 @11:07AM (#15817758)
    As long as it means I get effective drugs without risking my neck as a test subject, it is in my own best interest to pursue this method of testing.

    And, no, this post is not a troll. Deem me "cold-hearted" if you will, but I am most serious in admitting my joy that others will be exposed to the danger while I am able to reap the benefits.
  • by pianoman113 (204449) on Monday July 31, 2006 @11:09AM (#15817775) Homepage
    3. Stockholders in said businesses want more and more money so the businesses can't afford to take personal responsibility for the things they do to people

    If you have a 401k or a pension plan you are a stockholder.

    4. The majority of all politicians in the United States government is unabashedly comprised of stockholders and they make the laws
    Most Americans are "unabashedly" stockholders.

    You are morally responsible for eating too much fast food, not the people who sold it to you. Take responsibility for your own actions. Stop being a douche.
  • by mgh02114 (655185) on Monday July 31, 2006 @11:10AM (#15817777)
    Testing is necessary, there is no way around that. Someone, somehow, somewhere, is going to be the first human to be injected with any new drug. If you are morally opposed to human testing of new drugs, then you need to refuse to take any medication even invented. (The same is true for animal testing, by the way)

    The mistake made here was clear: do NOT inject a new drug into several people AT THE SAME TIME. In the interest of saving time and money, they gave the drug to several people at once. How hard would it have been to give the drug to one person only, and then stand back and see if anything bad happened before you give it to a second person?
  • by Herkum01 (592704) on Monday July 31, 2006 @11:12AM (#15817801)

    Signing a contract that says,

    "the company will not be held liable by the employee for blah, blah, etc..."

    cannot be a defense for negligent behavior.

    Contracts are about fair exchange of services, not making one party take all the risk and the other party to have none. While some contracts are not considered fair one party cannot completely assume the burden of all risks or responsibilities for both parties. Considering the violent reaction to this new drug a disclaimer saying, "we cannot be held responsible" will not hold water in court.

    The shame will be that the company will not pay, for what I consider, criminial behavior.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 31, 2006 @11:13AM (#15817805)
    Oh please. This is fearmongering and you know it.

  • by wisebabo (638845) on Monday July 31, 2006 @11:15AM (#15817821) Journal
    Wow something that blows away all T-cells in your body for good leaving the victims alive but consuming huge amounts of health care just to stay remain alive.
    I didn't RTFA but if this is something that can be put into drinking water, we're all in trouble. I hope I don't get super negative Karma for posting this.
  • by paladinwannabe2 (889776) on Monday July 31, 2006 @11:16AM (#15817828)
    You're evil, but at least you're honest about it. I can respect that.
  • by Total_Wimp (564548) on Monday July 31, 2006 @11:17AM (#15817841)
    Did you all know that women respond differently to many medications that men? Did you know that black people respond differently than white people? I'm a white guy. I sure hope they continue to do plenty of testing on white guy's in the future. I'd hate to die because my medicine doesn't work as well on caucasions as it does the people of Indian.

    In an ideal world, people would have drugs tested on all racial and gender type roughly equally, or at least according to the relative percentage of the population (which, of course, means Indian people perhaps should get more testing). This is rarely the case. Remember, when you test your drugs on people who are "expendable" you're really only hurting yourself in the long run unless you're just as expendable as they are.

    (note: prisoners are alson not representitive of the general population. Do you want your antidepresents tested exlusively on criminals who have a much higher incidence of mental health problems and illegal drug use than the population as a whole? That would be rather silly, I think)

    TW
  • Re:Whiners QWZX (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 31, 2006 @11:19AM (#15817859)
    Shooting from the hip? When some information is so wrong, it makes the rest suspicious. There are a lot of people who function fine without toes, walk, jog, etc and it is not generally noticable to an observer. Many mountain climbers, I personally have known a couple, have lost their toes due to frostbite. Still climb mountains and do everything else that I do, only better....
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday July 31, 2006 @11:28AM (#15817932)
    You have the attitude, but lack the front-end compassion.
  • by Crussy (954015) on Monday July 31, 2006 @11:30AM (#15817949)
    I agree 100%. Don't we have editors here that screen submissions? We have seen some poorly made summaries before and even ones with false information, but this brings it over the top. It is terrible that this happened to the victims, but flaming everyone from the company right on down to other testees is in plain bad taste.
  • by gigne (990887) on Monday July 31, 2006 @11:30AM (#15817953) Homepage Journal
    "What part of "testing" didn't the subjects understand before they volunteered?"


    on the contrary, I would imagine these people knew exactly what they were doing when they went for the trials. I think "fantastically dangerous" is a little short sighted considering the volume of human trials that happen around the globe. Many of these trials are for simple drugs, or variants/redosages of existing drugs. I digress.

    The main motivation for people to so clinical trials is not primarily for the betterment of medicine, it's a more selfish motive... money.
    there are many people who live on, or just below the breadline that would consider such trials as a means to an end.
    I even considered it myself at one point to get through university... eventually I took 3 jobs (yes, simultaneously). It was a tough decision to take, and if I fit the demographic of the clinical trial that was available to me at the time, I would have taken it. It would have easily paid for 3 semesters tuition.

    don't be so quick to judge. The need to eat is a powerful motivation.
  • by IceCreamGuy (904648) on Monday July 31, 2006 @11:32AM (#15817967) Homepage
    It's pretty obvious that you're the one who's "ignorant." Drugs are what raises the carrying capacity of the human race. Take a damn environmental science course and your teacher will draw it out for you - rise in technology/medicine = greater max human population. These things happen. It's terrrible. If you made a post to that effect we would have all agreed and moved on. But when you call people who go in for medical testing "ignorant" and flame the entire pharmacutical community you're just being a dick who doesn't know what they're talking about. I think "Brave" or "selfless" might be closer to an appropriate adjective for these people. These are the same people who allow you to live your life without worry of dying every time you catch a cold, so stop being a jerk and make a real post.
  • Not the US! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by andrewman327 (635952) on Monday July 31, 2006 @11:36AM (#15817991) Homepage Journal
    Americans reading this story and thread need to remember that the laws are different in different countries. Because something happens in London does not always mean that it would fly in the States.
  • Contracting Risk (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cbr2702 (750255) on Monday July 31, 2006 @11:54AM (#15818149) Homepage
    Contracts are about fair exchange of services, not making one party take all the risk and the other party to have none. While some contracts are not considered fair one party cannot completely assume the burden of all risks or responsibilities for both parties.
    Risk taking can be a service. We can have a contract to exchange your money for my risk taking in order to further some purpose.
  • by John Nowak (872479) on Monday July 31, 2006 @12:09PM (#15818281)
    This submission is absolutely disgusting. There is no reason to insult the victims of such a terrible tragedy. Furthermore, the people that take part in these things generally do so because they are in desperate need of money. To call them ignorant and say people who do such things deserve what they get is perhaps itself the most ignorant thing I've seen on Slashdot (and no, I'm not new here). Not only are these people just doing what they need to do to provide for their families, but they're also allowing all us of to live better lives through what they're doing.

    This is such ignorant, offensive crap, that I'd support banning the submitter from the site. There is no place here for such rampant stupidity, insensitivity, and complete lack of basic reasoning skills. Furthermore, Hemos needs to be kicked in the balls for permitting such a thing. If such nonsense was posted as a comment here, that would be terrible enough, but that this is being put forth as if it were fact (or anything other than delusional ranting for that matter) is insane and beyond irresponsible.
  • by Total_Wimp (564548) on Monday July 31, 2006 @12:20PM (#15818372)
    Ok. I looked it up in Wikipedia. You're right. Except for the part that it's not very relevant to medicine. Native Indians have a different disease profile than whites. Diseases affect them differently and at different rates. Drugs are unlikely to have the exact same effects.

    A guy in a post above pointed out that each person reacts differently than others to the same drug. He's right. But groups of people statistically react the same. If i'm going to be taking medicine, I'd prefer to know it was determined to be statistically effective on a group of people as similar to me as possible, just like Indians deserve to be given medicines tested on Indians.
  • Re:India (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 31, 2006 @12:25PM (#15818413)
    I want to address the victims here. There seems to be and under current that these were people who just "volunteered" for testing. Legally, that is probably true, but lets remember this was an experimental drug for the treatment of leukemia in Phase I testing. They don't just pull people off the streets for that. Phase I cancer drugs are tested on terminal, or near terminal patients who WILL die from their disease. For these "volunteers", it isn't so much a risk as it is a hope for a few more months, or maybe a year or so. Maybe even a very long shot at a cure!

    Yes, the company should care for them since their drug only made things worse and to do anything else is just plain old unethical, but don't call the test subjects "morons", "suckers", "disposable" or anything else mean spirited. Have some respect for the dieing and maybe even a little gratitude that in their suffering and death they may be helping you or someone you love in the long run.

    How do I know these things? I am a stage IVa cancer patient participating is a Phase I study. Hope is more powerful than fear.
  • by yoden (762145) on Monday July 31, 2006 @12:27PM (#15818427)
    What? It isn't McDonald's fault you ate so many BigMacs. Why SHOULD they have to pay? You'd think these people were being forced to eat there..
  • by MoneyT (548795) on Monday July 31, 2006 @12:35PM (#15818499) Journal
    McDonalds is a global company yet it appears that the US is the only one suffering from an obesity epidemic, and you think it's McDonald's fault? Why then isn't the rest of the world suffering from obesity?
  • Re:India (Score:3, Insightful)

    by snowwrestler (896305) on Monday July 31, 2006 @12:38PM (#15818545)
    The drug companies don't get any bennefit from producing drugs that kill people. They don't do this on purpose.

    Totally understood, but they should pay to support these test subjects. You can look at it either way.

    1) Think of it as a tort. When they do hurt or kill test subjects, on purpose or not, they should make them whole again financially.

    2) Think of the value added to the company. The test subjects have given their lives to provide a huge value to the company--a strong negative result is just as useful as a strong positive. (Just imagine if this drug had made it to market and resulted in a nationwide class action suit on behalf of a million people...goodbye company.) So the test subjects should be compensated in proportion to the value they provided the company.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 31, 2006 @12:40PM (#15818566)
    But retarded children [google.com] and
    low income children can [bbc.co.uk] - in the US, at least. And not that it's not old news - 2004 for that second article and still being investigated.
  • Re:India (Score:2, Insightful)

    by m874t232 (973431) on Monday July 31, 2006 @12:43PM (#15818598)
    The drug companies don't get any bennefit from producing drugs that kill people. They don't do this on purpose.

    But they do benefit from taking significant risks with test subjects' lives.

    The drug companies should be doing as much as possible to assure the safety of the drug before the test, but not everything can be forseen. This is why we do testing in the first place.

    Drug testing does have inherent risks. But people didn't get hurt by TGN1412 because of inherent risks of drug testing, they got hurt because the tests were designed and carried out irresponsibly.
  • by Karma Farmer (595141) on Monday July 31, 2006 @01:03PM (#15818797)
    Don't we have editors here that screen submissions?
    This story was not selected despite being flamebait. This story was selected because it is flamebait.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 31, 2006 @01:16PM (#15818920)
    It is the fact that the parent's point of view is widespread that makes me want to not procreate.
  • by James Lewis (641198) on Monday July 31, 2006 @01:16PM (#15818927)
    [sarcasm] How compassionate. [/sarcasm] Disregarding the possiblity that some of those volunteers were in great need of that money, but just did it for a 60 inch plasma, perhaps you should consider that at no point did they sign up to die. They didn't sign up to something they were told was "fantastically dangereous". They signed up to a test that they were assured the company had taken the necessary steps to assure its safety. You might think bungie jumping is crazy. That doesn't mean that if someone dies because the owner didn't tie the bungie a waiver should absolve him of responsibility.
  • by Snowtide (989191) on Monday July 31, 2006 @01:48PM (#15819276)
    I know people are not going to stop signing up to get paid being labrats. When I started in 1992 it was to help pay for school, $800 before taxes to spend four weekends in the lab was more than I could make at any other job, even a "good" job. Also, I could study for much of the time on the weekends. 10 years, 35+ studies and 1500+ blood draws later I never had a serious side effect, except for catching chicken pox in my mid 20's while on an immuno-suppressive test drug, and that was just funny and annoying not dangerous. The money has only gotten better over the years, four weekends now can pay $1000 before taxes and longer stays, say 13-19 days living in the lab pay $1700 to $3000 before taxes. In the 10 years I did studies I watched as the demographics of my fellow labrats shifted from a few students and lots of off season construction guys, farmers and laborers, as well as unemployed, to lots of students, stay at home parents and some off season workers and unemployed. The money is good, and if you read the consent forms they give you, or listen to them when they are read to you before you even take the first physical to try and get on the study you know what you are getting into, such as if it is a first time in humans study, and can decide to try for the study or not. Yes I skipped a few studies I didn't like the looks of, but very few. Even today from talking to current labrats I know that getting on a study is still very competitive, actually now more than ever and that as many or more are turned away as make in on a given study.

    As for prisoners, talking to the doctors at the lab I was in gave me a history of why medical testing has moved from prisoners to paid labrats, paid labrats are much less likely to mess with the study protocols and screw up the results by doing things like eating things that are not on the study diet, taking drugs, working out excessively, smoking or many other things depending on the study. Drug companies got tired of getting faulty data because prisoners were violating study protocols, while paid labrats want our money so we are much more likely to behave. I know I did.

    That the company is screwing over the human labrats they basically have killed is abominable, but most studies are not that risky, and as the economy gets worse and worse human testing labs will continue to have more and more people lining up for labrat jobs. I quit doing them for time reasons, I have a regular job and my own business so my free time is limited, but if I had more time I probably would still do them occasionally. I apologize for any spelling or grammar errors, I am in a hurry, may the spelling and grammar correctors take joy in my mistakes.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 31, 2006 @02:03PM (#15819434)
    How about if you're dying of a disease, and you can't get access to a promising clinical trial because you're not in India?

    How about the fact that the trust factor goes away if these trials aren't carried out as carefully as possible (which doesn't seem to be important in your point of view).

    I assume you'd want intelligent, involved people involved in these tests, who can speak up for all of their experience, rather than people who'd be afraid to speak up about symptoms because they don't want to get cut off.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 31, 2006 @02:47PM (#15819834)
    In other words, only an ignorant would sign up for medical testing. I predict a decline in voluntary test subjects, and a rise in the use of prisoners and other 'disposable' human subjects."

    Actually, you're "only an ignorant" if you get as hysterical as in the above quote. Some experiments are quite safe, some less so. That's why we need to evaluate the risk before participating--read the consent form carefully and do a bit in independent thinking and investigation.

    When I used medical experiments as an additional source of income, I looked for high pain/low risk ones. They paid well and, because the drugs being tested were well-known, involved no real risk. One I participated in confirmed the old folk wisdom that alcohol (in my case a liter of tonic water laced with vodka) really does dull our sense of pain and doesn't just leave us too befuddled to notice. Another helped to confirm that a drug long used in surgery because it has fewer side-effects than morphine should also work well with cancer patients. In the latter case, I was well paid for doing good.

    So, don't write off medical experiments, just look carefully before you leap. And pay particular attention to the clauses about how complications will be handled. If they don't make the proper legal promises there, then it makes sense not to sign up.

    --Mike Perry, Editor: Eugenics and Other Evils by G. K. Chesterton.

  • by An Onerous Coward (222037) on Monday July 31, 2006 @05:46PM (#15821254) Homepage
    If you have a 401k or a pension plan you are a stockholder.


    Counterpoint:

    While much has been made in recent years about growing stock ownership across the entire population, the top one percent of stock owners in the United States still hold almost half of all stocks, while the bottom 80 percent own just 4.1 percent. Almost two-thirds of all households have stock holdings worth 5,000 dollars or less.[src [commondreams.org]]
    Which is to say, this argument you're putting forth is the one the truly wealthy use to draw our attention away from the fact that corporate misbehavior is undermining our entire society. Sure, they're destroying the environment and our health, exploiting third-world workers and wreaking havoc on their economies, putting dangerous products on the market, and so on. But they need to be able to do this to turn your $100K retirement fund into a $104K retirement fund.

    The poor bear most of the costs of these behaviors, and only the truly wealthy really benefit from them. The trick here is that they want you convinced that you're in the "benefitting" camp when you're actually in the "getting screwed" camp.

    If corporations adopted personal responsibility for themselves, rather than demanding it from the rest of society, we'd all be a lot better off, corporations included.
  • by Some_Llama (763766) on Monday July 31, 2006 @05:58PM (#15821320) Homepage Journal
    "Actually, I wouldn't mind it if the person is on death row with appeals exhausted. The person on death row killed one (or more!) people to get there.... save a lot of other lives."

    Unless, of course, that person happens to be innocent...
  • by bodrell (665409) on Tuesday August 01, 2006 @10:59AM (#15825328) Journal
    The very fact that a human test is necessary indicates the possibility, however slighty, that a dangerous response is possible. From what I can tell from reading online, there was plenty of animal testing done, including exposing other primates to the substance, but it responded uniquely to human biology. (One possibility, apparantly, is that because the production of the drug involved human proteins, the safe dosage was much lower in humans. I have no idea if that actually makes any sense ^_^)
    This was a monoclonal antibody--MAb--(meaning every molecule is essentially identical, because each has identical amino acid sequence) that was generated against a HUMAN immune-related protein (a particular region of CD28). It is possible to generate anti-rat antibodies in a mouse, so it doesn't take a huge leap of logic to guess that immune responses will be highly variable from one species to the next, even if they are all primates. Humans can't be infected with SIV (simian version of HIV), so obviously there are some important differences between human and simian biology. Even a priori, I could have told you injecting a humanized monoclonal antibody generated against a human immuno-protein would have a greater response in a human than in a monkey.

    Volunteers in Phase I studies are taking risks by enrolling, but the pharma company really screwed this one up. Lupus and cancer are the two big risks for any sort of immuno-modulatory treatment. This is why pharma companies have shied away from genetic therapies, where genes are introduced via virii--the patients tend to die from cancer. [sciencemag.org] Any humanized MAb is going to have risks of autoimmune disease or cancer, but especially one targeted to a cell-surface immune receptor. Campath-1H (generic name Alemtuzumab) [mult-sclerosis.org], for example, can be used to treat MS or a certain leukemia, but can cause Graves disease (autoimmune attack on the thyroid) and depletes T-cells. Raptiva (Efalizumab) [wikipedia.org], a psoriasis MAb treatment, can cause autoimmune or immune-deficiency side-effects. Parexel was lucky that all six patients didn't die of anaphalactic shock within the hour, and they definitely should have injected one patient first, to rule out catastrophic side-effects such as what occurred.

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