Because Sometimes You Need Something More Than A Lab Rat And Less Than A Full Human With Access To A Liability Attorney

Is it possible to become too cynical?

I mean, you would think the obvious answer is yes. Intuition tells you that cynicism, like acid, has its uses,  but should be handled with great caution, as it can rot through your soul the way the HCl I once accidentally poured down the drain of my college's organic chemistry lab rotted its way through the sewer system.

Science has a way of disproving the intuitive however, and it just may be working its magic on my cynicism assumptions as well. From a piece in the April edition of In These Times, a magazine you should subscribe to right now:

“That’s a great question!” said the presenter, setting off the same sincerity alarm a salesman triggers by constantly repeating your first name.
The response came during a webinar on why “Latin America is a rich resource for pharmaceutical companies and contract research organizations (CRO) to develop new drugs at a reduced cost.”
The $175 Drug Information Association (DIA) event touted advantages of outsourcing drug trials to the developing world and of hiring CROs to manage those trials by navigating local regulations, recruiting subjects and reporting test results in a way that will facilitate FDA acceptance.

Not in a way to advance the scientific knowledge of humanity mind you. All we care about here is getting a clinical trial past the FDA while saving a few bucks.

The piece's author, Terry Allen, goes on to quote a congressional report that found in this country, GlaxoSmithKline had been “intimidating scientists, ghostwriting studies for academic researchers, (and) suppressing studies” in the name of building sales for its diabetes med Avandia, and that Avandia was associated with 83,000 excess heart attacks.

“GSK had a duty,” the report concluded, “to sufficiently warn patients and the FDA of its concerns.” But GSK failed to warn, and the FDA has failed to act—beyond advising “concerned” patients to “talk to their healthcare professional.”

Those are the standards Big Pharma evidently feels are so high they are being driven to conduct clinical studies offshore. That and the feeling the third world offers a large number of desperate suffering people eager to enroll in a clinical trial because they see them "as a viable healthcare option to gain free medication”

You always get the best science that way.

The question that was so great!, by the way, was regarding the independent ethical review panels charged with overseeing the rights of  these desperate, suffering, people. How can they be independent, it was asked, when they are paid by the very drug companies conducting the studies?

A great question that's still waiting for an acceptable answer.

Thing is, none of this phased me. I read this article the way you would read one about another killing in your city's most drug infested neighborhood. I took a sip of coffee, got ready to turn the page, and remembered, for a few seconds, what it was like to be under the spell of learning. Of a time when I thought the ultimate goal here was to expand our understanding of the processes that keep us alive.

No. The ultimate goal is to accumulate as many pennies per share as possible for the corporation. And I wonder this night how low my opinion of humanity will be driven in pursuit of it.
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Because Sometimes You Need Something More Than A Lab Rat And Less Than A Full Human With Access To A Liability Attorney
Because Sometimes You Need Something More Than A Lab Rat And Less Than A Full Human With Access To A Liability Attorney
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