Third world trials are not the way to advance

There are other ways of assessing safety without using animals but it is not possible to do trials on medications without human involvement.

We can’t expect to see stickers proclaiming “not tested on humans” to appear on pill boxes anytime soon. However there are some ethical issues around trials of medications that should be ringing alarm bells.

There is an increasing trend to outsource work to developing countries. Phone companies and banks have jumped on board and so too has the pharmaceutical industry.

I was disturbed to read how one company was fined $US93,000 in Argentina over the deaths of 14 babies in a vaccine trial. It is important to note that it was not the vaccine that caused the deaths, and the company is appealing the decision. Two doctors were also fined.

The real issue is how the trial was conducted. There were allegations of illiterate patients being pressured by doctors (who were recruited by