Historical Archive


The purpose was legitimate, to test a new antibiotic against meningitis, but not the way it was done. In 1996, Pfizer conducted the experiment in Nigeria, where a serious epidemic of meningitis was circulating, without correctly informing the volunteers of the possible risks and of the existence of already tested medicines.

Out of two hundred children enrolled, eleven died, others developed arthritis or suffered permanent damage. The case has arrived in court: the Nigerian government is asking Pfizer for nine billion dollars in compensation. How to regulate these trials, which not only concern the drug industry, but also universities such as Harvard and Johns Hopkins? Half of the clinical trials are conducted in poor countries. Especially in China, India and the African continent, but also in Eastern Europe. Increasingly, pharmaceutical companies subcontract research to local companies, which are responsible for finding staff and volunteers.

The turnover of this industry is around eleven billion dollars a year, with more than a thousand companies hunting guinea pigs from Bulgaria to India. The problem, explains The Lancet, is that companies are not always able to comply with the clinical standards adopted in industrialized countries.

From www.internazionale.it  – 19-01-08 The Lancet


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Fedaiisf Federazione delle Associazioni Italiane degli Informatori Scientifici del Farmaco e del Parafarmaco