Fatal trials: clinical trials are killing people

Amit Sengupta | Indian Journal of Medical Ethics | Vol 6, No. 3 | 2009

In many quarters there is satisfaction that India is developing into the “clinical trials capital” of the globe. By all accounts the business of conducting clinical trials in India is growing at a phenomenal rate. The reasons have been discussed widely and merit only a brief mention here. Situating clinical trials in India provides the advantage of low costs (estimated as 60% lower than in developed countries), relatively high levels of technical expertise and a large population base on whom clinical trials can be conducted. The large population base has the additional advantage (as subjects of clinical trials) of being largely “treatment-naive”, or not exposed to any form of treatment, and representing a large genetic diversity as six out of the seven genetic varieties of the human race are represented in India. Clinical trials conducted here also have the advantage of being able to target populations that are at risk from diseases of poverty and underdevelopment (communicable diseases and diseases related to under-nutrition) as well as the so-called “lifestyle diseases”, or diseases related to an affluent lifestyle.

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