When Do Drug Clinical Trials Cross The Line Of Ethical Behavior?

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Clinical trials for new medications is a valuable tool to test the effects on humans. The most important thing in this matter is whether or not it is harmful to humans. That being said, this comes at a cost. Do these trials cause more harm than is needed? Are they being properly supervised? Is the proper medical care available if something goes wrong?

 

Clinical trials are simply the act of giving someone a drug and seeing what the effects are. Does it do what it is intended for? What are the negative effects? People are recruited and stay for either a few hours or days depending on what drug/study is being done. People are informed of the risks and have to sign a release form. This is not a contract and the person is free to leave the trial at any time. The person is compensated financially for these trials. This can range from 100 dollars up to thousands of dollars. This makes it very attractive even though it comes with quite a risk.

 

The recruiting part of this process is the subject today. Advertising is a very acceptable form as far as I’m concerned. However, many of these drug companies have been recruiting from the homeless. This is quite controversial to me. Many of the homeless suffer from addiction and I think that ethically this is a very shady recruiting process. I believe that programs designed to help the homeless to get back on their feet are invaluable. Recruiting these people for these trials is not going to help the homeless out in the long run. These trials are needed for the development of new drugs, but putting vulnerable people at risk while tempting them with money that is only a short term fix is unacceptable.