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Body Hunters: How the Drug Industry Tests Its Products On the World's Poorest Patients

by Sonia Shah (Author)



Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly
In a trenchant exposť of a sinister new trend in the pharmaceutical industry,
investigative journalist Shah (Crude: The Story of Oil) uncovers a series of
recent unethical drug trials conducted on impoverished and sick people in the
developing world. Intricately delineating the causal relationships between past
drug scares in America, such as thalidomide, and Americans' consequent
reluctance to take part in drug testing, Shah demonstrates how a skyrocketing
drug market has accelerated the search for "warm bodies" on which to test new
products. Saying that the drug industry's main interest "is not enhancing or
saving lives but acquiring stuff: data," Shah focuses in particular on the
habitual use of a placebo control group, who receive little or no medical care.
Shah concludes by spotlighting how drug regulators turn a blind eye to "coercion
and misunderstanding between subjects and researchers," and how researchers
actively seek countries that can provide them with a high death rate, so crucial
to their data. Meticulously researched and packed with documentary evidence,
Shah's tautly argued study will provoke much needed public debate about this
disturbing facet of globalization.

From Booklist
Journalist Shah isn't afraid to ask hard questions. While acknowledging that
medical science wouldn't be at today's highly evolved stage without the
advantages of centuries of human experimentation, how moral is it, she ponders,
to use humans for medical and scientific experiments? Her questions get harder
when she exposes the manner in which big pharmaceutical companies conceive,
research, and develop new drugs. Typically, those drugs don't aim to cure the
world's enormous poor-but-sick population. Too often, the goal is to create not
new but copycat drugs to prolong the lives of America's wealthy elderly
population at the direct expense of people in Third World nations. With
references to medical experimentation's grim history, including Nazi
concentration-camp inmate "studies" and the Tuskegee syphilis study, Shah
reveals how the poor, underinformed, or simply powerless have born the weight of
medical advances. The story is as big as the issue is complex, and Shah's
heavily documented account endeavors to be evenhanded, given what are clearly
her own feelings about the topic.


Product Details

Hardcover: 208 pages
Publisher: New Press; 1 edition (September 25, 2006)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1565849124

 

 

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