Unethical Clinical Trials Still Being Conducted in Developing Countries

October 3, 2014 7:50 PM

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Unethical Clinical Trials Still Being Conducted in Developing Countries

In 1997, Public Citizen's Health Research Group brought widespread international attention to unethical clinical trials. The trials were testing new methods for preventing the spread of HIV infection from pregnant women to their babies before or after giving birth in developing countries in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean. In each of these trials, most of which were funded by the U.S. government, some women were randomly assigned to receive placebos or other treatments known to be ineffective, rather than a drug proven effective in preventing the spread of HIV infection from mother to baby.

Unfortunately, nearly 20 years later, similarly unethical trials continue to be conducted. One recent such trial in India, reported in The Lancet in June, evaluated an experimental vaccine for preventing a very common, potentially life-threatening viral infection called rotavirus. Two rotavirus vacc...

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