Drugs testing on humans


by Sunny
26th February, 2006 at 6:00 pm    

kittensWith Ken’s thread now about animal testing, given the recent march, I’ll add my two cents to this issue, so we can flesh it out.

It started with j0nz asking: As a liberal would you rather they was tested on human subjects? Without testing on animals it would result a shocking negligence in care for the human race.

To which I replied with: Yes. Why should animals suffer for human medication. They should pay people to be tested on… make it into a free market where the poor and homeless can put themselves forward for testing in return for inordinate amounts of money.

There were some hurried calls to men in white coats no doubt. Don: Also, why stick it to the poor? I realise you have a belief in market forces, but that is a step beyond Dickensian. Why not the rich?

Jay Singh adds: Yeah – you open up that kind of shit to the market forces and who are the ones that are going to be exploited? The poorest and most vulnerable people in Asia and Africa! hmmmm….looks like you havent thought this through enough Sunny.

Actually, I have thought about this quite a bit… though I’m happy for someone to try and dissuade me. Testing on humans is a taboo that many liberals would have nightmares about.

But I put it to people that if you value life, specially if you value all life equally like me, then market forces offer the best solution.

There seems to be an assumption that we live in an egalitarian society where poor people are not exploited already. Rich people already live longer than the poor; the poor are offered a way out by the army and die in war, the rich and powerful get out of draft; the rich can afford medicines that the poor cannot.

Stumbling and Mumbling recently wrote why he thought the trade in kidneys should be legalised.

I say take it a step further and let the poor people offer themselves up for medical testing. After all, tests on rats and chimpanzees never give a full indication of how a drug would react to humans.

The free-market approach would make it more expensive to develop drugs, but may reduce the testing time. I bet its something scientists would love to do dearly, but just are too afraid to ask. By including the true cost of developing a drug, it would force companies to spend more on alternatives such as advanced computer modelling, to test drugs.

It would also stop animals being mercilessly exploited for something they do not benefit from, or has anything to do with them. I believe in the sanctity of all life and karma does not differentiate between species – you kill something, you will eventually pay for it.

Therefore I support voluntary testing on humans.


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  1. j0nz — on 26th February, 2006 at 6:09 pm  

    Anyone seen the Constant Gardener? In that they do drug testing on poorest Africans. (Big whole British oriented conspiracy type thing). It was quite a shocking thought that drug companies would do this. Diffrence being between this scenario and Sunny’s scenario, these poor Africans weren’t aware of the testing…

    How would the world react if the cure for AIDS was found by doing dodgy human testing in Africa? Where the vitcims/patients weren’t told. What’s the greatest good?

    What if a company in Oxford finds a cure for cancer? Though they went through thousands of animals? Should the world be denied a cure for cancer?

  2. Sunny — on 26th February, 2006 at 6:18 pm  

    Diffrence being between this scenario and Sunny’s scenario, these poor Africans weren’t aware of the testing…

    No j0nz – the difference being that the Africans could voluntarily submit themselves, and earn money doing so. As I said above, the drug companies want to do it anyway, this animal testing is just skirting around the issue.

    People are happy for humans in other countries to be subjected to “shock and awe”, or to carry on be killed by malaria, or to let the pharma companies charge stupid amounts for AIDS drugs in Africa, yet they balk at animal human testing.

  3. Jay Singh — on 26th February, 2006 at 6:31 pm  

    And you think it should be legal for poor people in the 3rd world to sell their kidneys too? And you would not foresee this exacerbating the vulnerability of the poor?

  4. inders — on 26th February, 2006 at 6:34 pm  

    Aside from the massive ethical issues with this, you’re underestimating the true cost involved. Can you imagine trying to get insured as a human guinea pig ?

    Is a virus or a bacterium included within this circle of all living things ? Yeast culture ? Plant life ? Parasitical organisms of various natures ? Pubic lice ?

    The whole thing stinks of extreme idealism with no real bearing in the real world. Animals rights ? Sure. Equivalance of all living things ? Impossible.

  5. Sunny — on 26th February, 2006 at 6:50 pm  

    it should be legal for poor people in the 3rd world to sell their kidneys too

    Why not. They can’t sell food produce because we subsidise our own farmers so much.

    Can you imagine trying to get insured as a human guinea pig ?

    Why would you insure yourself if you’re too poor anyway? I don’t think people with HIV can get insured etc anyway…. so this applies to a lot of people today anyway.

    The whole thing stinks of extreme idealism

    huh? It’s the free-market approach. Let the market decide how much human body parts and human testing should cost.

  6. Jay Singh — on 26th February, 2006 at 6:56 pm  

    Sunny

    Do you not foresee ethical issues about making vulnerable people even more vulnerable to ‘market pressures’ and body pimps? Exploiting the weakest and the poorest?

  7. inders — on 26th February, 2006 at 7:16 pm  

    The market price will follow on from percieved value. And humans value human life more then they value animal life.

    Free market ? Only in the sense that you’re restricting the market in ways more acceptable to yourself.

  8. Don — on 26th February, 2006 at 7:23 pm  

    Sunny,

    Your ‘Modest Proposal’ is freaking me out.

    ‘if you value life, specially if you value all life equally like me, then market forces offer the best solution.’

    Sunny, market forces are not the best solution when the value of human life is the issue. Ever. You are proposing a nightmare scenario. The most nightmarish thing about it is that it is entirely plausible. ‘I bet its something scientists would love to do dearly, but just are too afraid to ask.’ Damn right. Let’s keep it that way. Last time they got the nerve to ask, well, Mengele ring any bells?

    ‘…the Africans could voluntarily submit themselves’. Sure. Informed consent would be rigorously applied, wouldn’t it?

    You seem to be suggesting that because the poor and weak are already being exploited, then they presumably would be ok with being used as a disposable resource by souless multi-nationals.

    As for karma, means zip to me. One human life or ten thousand lab rats? No contest.

  9. Steve Davies — on 26th February, 2006 at 7:24 pm  

    As a matter of interest, Iran has a completely free market in kidneys. The result is that there is no shortage of kidneys (a marked contrast to everywhere else). If you did have a free market in organs it would quickly lead to the appearance of all sorts of sophisticated financial instruments. One thing that would probably happen is that people would sell options on their organs rather than the organs directly. This could have all sorts of useful results.

    Anyone interested in this I recommend you read James Stacey Taylor Stakes and Kidneys: Why Markets in Human Body Parts are Ethically Imperative (Ashgate, 2005)

  10. Don — on 26th February, 2006 at 7:41 pm  

    One likely result, if this proposal got real, would be the Chinese prison system would prick up its ears real fast.

    http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/rm/2001/3792.htm

    ‘The Department of State is also aware of reports that it cannot independently confirm, of other, even more egregious practices, such as removing organs from still-living prisoners, and scheduling executions to accommodate the need for particular organs.’

    We already have rich and poor, powerful and powerless, now we get donor-class and recipient-class as well? Those on whom experiments are done and those who benefit? Market forces setting a value on human life – and keeping a close eye on where it is cheapest – is something we already have and it is an unequivocal Bad Thing. we should be trying to roll this shit back, not pointing out the next hideous step.

  11. Sunny — on 26th February, 2006 at 7:48 pm  

    Lol, thank you Steve for that. I never knew it, but it reinforces my POV.

    I don’t see why people are screaming ‘non-ethical’.

    1) People voluntarily submit themselves.
    2) They should be legally told the full implications involved, thus, higher risk = higher incentive.
    3) Testing of life-saving products is done cheaply (over the longer run), more effectively, and quicker, thus saving lives!

    You seem to be suggesting that because the poor and weak are already being exploited, then they presumably would be ok with being used as a disposable resource by souless multi-nationals.

    NO. I’m saying the poor and weak are exploited already. The risk vs reward equation exists everywhere… in the example that S&M gives, miners already take risks in return for money. This is just extending that equation to voluntary testing.

    This way the poor could make more money, and that too voluntarily. My point is that society is exploitative as it is, might as well do it properly.

    If people want to get rid of exploitation entirely, have a comprehensive socialism/communism everywhere so the resources available are equal to everyone, then there this system would be unethical.

  12. Don — on 26th February, 2006 at 8:12 pm  

    Sunny,

    This is a slippier slope than any you’ll find in the Winter Olympics. as I pointed out on the earlier thread, people can and do take part in drug trials etc. Just not the ones that require key organs to be dissected at the end.

    ‘In other words,” said Benji, steering his curious little vehicle right over to Arthur, “there’s a good chance that the structure of the question is encoded in the structure of your brain – so we want to buy it off you.”

    “What, the question?” said Arthur.

    “Yes,” said Ford and Trillian.

    “For lots of money,” said Zaphod.

    “No, no,” said Frankie, “it’s the brain we want to buy.”

    “What!”

    “I thought you said you could just read his brain electronically,” protested Ford.

    “Oh yes,” said Frankie, “but we’d have to get it out first. It’s got to be prepared.”

    “Treated,” said Benji.

    “Diced.”

    So unless you are ok with testing to destruction, it doesn’t address the issue.

    And, seriously, do you for one moment trust the kind of local bureaucrat tasked with finding a couple of hundred ‘volunteers’ in some corrupt regime (because market forces ain’t going to be looking for ‘volunteers’ in vibrant democracies) to be meticulous about informed consent and respect for human dignity?

    Yes, desperately poor people will do anything for money, even die if that’s what feeds their children. But there is some shit you do not facilitate. Even if it means freeing the bunnies.

  13. Jay Singh — on 26th February, 2006 at 8:29 pm  

    I’m with Don on this one.

  14. Sunny — on 27th February, 2006 at 12:55 am  

    Clearly, I’m not with Don on this one….

    as I pointed out on the earlier thread, people can and do take part in drug trials etc.

    I never said no regulation would be needed. In fact I doubt foreign countries would let their citizens be used for clinical trials.. After all, Iran’s stance hasn’t made the rest of the world legitimise kidney trading either.

    One could force companies to find citizens of the same country, or at least force them to provide extensive documentation so they know the risks. I doubt anyone giving themselves up for experimentation will want to know the risks, and they will be legally entitled to.

    trust the kind of local bureaucrat tasked with finding a couple of hundred ‘volunteers’ in some corrupt regime

    no – the company finds the volunteers and should be forced to publish who they tested on, and what was the outcome.

    But there is some shit you do not facilitate
    I don’t see why not. As I point out, there are ethical and financial reasons for doing so. People should be allowed to submit themselves for ris in return for money. It happens all the time anyway, I don’t see the big deal about this.

  15. Don — on 27th February, 2006 at 1:05 am  

    ‘I don’t see the big deal about this. ‘

    At times like this I almost wish I believed in God. So I could express how simply wrong this proposal is.

    I’m going to bed now. To be resumed.

  16. mirax — on 27th February, 2006 at 4:30 am  

    Don, I really don’t understand why you’d need god to show how wrongheaded and yes, stupid ,Sunny’s argument is.

    Just the premise for starters is absolute bonkers – The sanctity and equality of ALL life.

    It is this absolutist premise that leads to his shaky solution and who says that we have to accept such stupid premise in the first place?

    * ‘sanctity’ (what does this word really mean? which theological traditions are being referred to? Sunny must explain a bit more before expecting us to take such a statement on faith)
    *’equality” another problematic concept. One for one equality of all species? When all of nature is a competition, a struggle for survival against others?
    * ALL lifeforms – you have already killed millions of lives then Sunny boy. Every time you had a bacterial infection and your immune system set out to get you back on your feet, you murdered millions. I’m not even going to go into other areas of your life- your diet, lifestyle etc because there too, despite the greatest care you may have taken( like those poor deluded naked Jains sweeping the ground before them constantly), you are as much a killer as the rest of us. I am really willing to accept that you never slapped off a mosquito or knowingly stepped on an ant. Really.

    Maybe you wish to modify your initial premise
    and admit that you actually do have a hierarchy of sorts when it comes to lifeforms. maybe you place sentient animal lifeforms above plants or bacteria, or even worse, mammals over invetebrates.

    So you are for equal rights for just animals. You are against animal testing. Logical and fair enough. You are against all animal husbandry and slaughter, right? You oppose the use of animals as pack and work animals, right? It is patronising to tame and keep animal pets, no? You campaign equally hard against all these human exploitation of our co-species, yes?

    We will go to round two when we have sorted out just where you are coming from.

  17. Sunny — on 27th February, 2006 at 4:44 am  

    It’s all about intention.

    If you kill animals for pleasure (eating, wearing, gratituously killing, testing), then its bad karma. Negative vibes and all that. I’m not asking others to believe in all this of course.

    I don’t go as extreme as the Jains do, with masks that protect the killing of beings in the air, but I try and minimise damage where I can. And I also intend not to kill gratuously. Hence, I believe my bacon is saved somewhat.

    So yes, I’ve killed millions of bacteria in the past, and will do so in the future – but that is not only avoidable but also unnecessary. And my intention is not to kill them.

    which theological traditions are being referred to?
    Law of karma

    One for one equality of all species? When all of nature is a competition, a struggle for survival against others?
    I believe co-existence is possible. There is no need to exploit or kill animals “for survival”.

    Maybe you wish to modify your initial premise
    Not at all. I’m just clarifying as I go along, as I knew there would be questions. I justs didn’t want to write a super long article.

    you actually do have a hierarchy of sorts when it comes to lifeforms.
    there is the cycle of nature, yes. But we are referring to animal testing here. Unless I am attacked, I try and avoid killing animals/beings/whatever.

    You are against all animal husbandry and slaughter, right? You oppose the use of animals as pack and work animals, right?

    yes, yes

    It is patronising to tame and keep animal pets, no?
    No – I belive that is co-existence, as long as the animal is not subjected to cruelty.

    Hope that answers everything.

    The invisible hand of Adam Smith lives on
    (where is Riz when I need him?).

  18. Sid D H Arthur — on 27th February, 2006 at 8:09 am  

    Please, please! I just want everyone to remember that not all Asians are vegetarian!

  19. inders — on 27th February, 2006 at 8:54 am  

    How exactly are animals that are killed in the process of testing, killed for pleasure ?

    Sunny if god judges animals to be equal to the human, what for the cat who plays with his mouse, dissecting it piecemeal, one organ at a time. If the law of Karma applies to all beings, what is the difference between a rightous lion and a one thats commited a sin?

    By applying your laws of morality which are fundamentaly about humans and human society and formed along those lines onto nature and natural law makes a mockery of both human morality and natural existence. You are already asking for a different set of bahaviour from humanity then you would of any other living being.

    Don’t get me wrong, cruelty is rightly frowned upon in any form because a person who is capable of cruelty to an animal can and would be under suspicion of being capable of cruelty to a human being. The argument is about necessity. I believe that animal testing is necessary if medicine that will save human lifes is to be devoloped.

    Testing on humans? Not once in your posts have I read about the possibilty of a human being being severely disabled or killed through testing. I doubt any scientist would undertake such a responsabilty easily and the net result would be less testing and the net result of that would be, some medicines that are never developed. Which of course means that a greater number of people will die sooner.

  20. j0nz — on 27th February, 2006 at 9:52 am  

    LOL Sid. What do you think?

    I wonder how a fatwa on animal testing/human testing would beef out?

  21. Petals just fell from heaven — on 27th February, 2006 at 12:43 pm  

    Agree, that human testing by exploiting the poor is immoral especially they’re not fully informed about the process itself but one should have a choice.
    I’m sure that drugs/comestic companies must be overseen by an independent ethics committee. Aren’t they?

  22. j0nz — on 27th February, 2006 at 12:49 pm  

    Sunny it happens every once in a while. Everybody will disagree with you! It happened to me on the glorification of terrorism. Nobody agreed with me. Sniff.

  23. Sunny — on 27th February, 2006 at 1:34 pm  

    Inders – testing may not always be for pleasure, but not all of it is surely for the development of cancer, know what I mean?

    As for the cat-mouse scenario – that is part of the circle of life (how else is a cat supposed to survive). I have no problems with natural law. I’m just saying we live outside that law currently.

    Not once in your posts have I read about the possibilty of a human being being severely disabled or killed through testing.

    risk / reward. I already explained that the poor end up paying for their lack of resources through worse health, this is merely an extension of that. Its quite simple to get your head round. This isn’t a new taboo being broken, just taking an existing one to its logical conclusion.

  24. fotzepolitic — on 27th February, 2006 at 9:35 pm  

    This may not have anything to do with anything, but when I was working at a stop-smoking clinic last summer, a big pharma company used us (among others) to test a new drug to help people quit, and put an ad in the Metro asking for paid volunteers. I swear, the difficulty in getting just 100 Londoners to show up once a week for 15 min, actually take the damn pills, etc etc was mindblowing. Dozens dropped out, and that was AFTER the initial screening cut out many people for having high blood pressure, being too fat, too whatever to be considered healthy enough to participate. I had had no idea that drug trials were so difficult before that. People in poverty often suffer from multiple health problems at once — drug trials usually require those sorts of things to be controlled (i.e., you smoke but are otherwise healthy, you’ve got asthma but not diabetes, etc etc) in order to study the actual effect of the drug. But it also seems to me that NO drug hits the market UNLESS it’s been tested on humans — are you just saying cut out all animal experimentation before the human part?

  25. El Cid — on 27th February, 2006 at 10:00 pm  

    IMO Sunny has been smoking some bad shit.
    But then I would say that, seeing as I have Spanish blood. You know what we’re like with animals — if it moves, eat it. Failing that parade it through the streets with flames on its horns for the big fiesta finale.
    I jest (not)

  26. xyz — on 28th February, 2006 at 5:44 pm  

    I volunteer Jay and Sid for human testing. Just kidding, just kidding. :) But if it helps spare two other more valuable God’s creatures. Just kidding, just kidding. :)

  27. Sunny — on 28th February, 2006 at 7:51 pm  

    Fotzepolitic :
    are you just saying cut out all animal experimentation before the human part?

    That is exactly what I’m saying.

    j0nz:
    Everybody will disagree with you! It happened to me on the glorification of terrorism. Nobody agreed with me. Sniff.
    Hehe – but I’m not dissuaded yet. All you guys are saying is “its immoral”. That is not a strong enough argument in itself because I see part of this happening already.

    Petals:
    I’m sure that drugs/comestic companies must be overseen by an independent ethics committee.
    I believe the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has some regulations for pharmas, but not enough in my opinion… They have a regulatory body here too, forget the name…
    Though I don’t believe there is a regulatory body specifically for animal testing. All that is self-policed, a situation I’m not happy about.

  28. xyz — on 28th February, 2006 at 8:10 pm  

    Some possible alternatives to unnecessary, cruel and pointless (results not a good indicator for effect on humans) animal testing, especially for cosmetics and consumer and luxury products:
    http://www.allforanimals.com/alternatives1.htm

  29. Don — on 28th February, 2006 at 8:58 pm  

    Sunny,

    Your position is riddled with inconsistencies and dodgy logic. You say that;

    ‘This isn’t a new taboo being broken, just taking an existing one to its logical conclusion.’

    Yeah, except that if something (in this case the exploitation of the poor) is morally wrong, then ‘taking the next logical step’ is a step in the wrong direction. The step after that is Soylent Green. So your argument that as they are treated like shit anyway we shouldn’t make a big deal of treating them like disposable lab rats does not hold water.

    You said that;

    ‘If people want to get rid of exploitation entirely, have a comprehensive socialism/communism everywhere so the resources available are equal to everyone, then there this system would be unethical.’

    Actually, this is the only situation in which your swiftian suggestion might be ethical. If people could make a cold decision to risk their health for gain, without being presented with the brutal incentive of feeding there starving children, then that is free choice. This is analogous to prostitution; middle class girl who decides to make fast money on her back in some fancy hotel, fine; her call. Some kid in dire poverty driven to service twenty slobs a day so her siblings don’t die; market forces, logical step, fucked up. Plain wrong.

    What about this exchange?

    ‘As a matter of interest, Iran has a completely free market in kidneys. ‘

    ‘Lol, thank you Steve for that. I never knew it, but it reinforces my POV.’

    The Iranians don’t regulate and that reinforces your argument? WTF?

    Your claim that you regard all life as equally valuable might make an interesting philosophical stance, but it falls apart in the real world. Because you don’t. If you came upon a rat gnawing at a baby, would you deliberate about the rat’s entitlement to food? No, you would pick up a brick. If a friend showed up in a leather jacket, you might feel uncomfortable and even raise the matter. If he was wearing a necklace of human ears you would consider him a vile psycho freak. Because you know it is not the same.

    I’ve raised a couple of points which you have avoided answering, so I’ll raise them again. Many experiments require that organs be dissected to find out the effect of a drug or ailment. This means a dead subject. Not risk/reward. Dead. Risk doesn’t enter the equation. Where will you get your human subjects? Chinese prisons?

    fotzpolitic raised a salient point, which you did not address with;

    ‘People in poverty often suffer from multiple health problems at once — drug trials usually require those sorts of things to be controlled ‘

    It is disingenuous to suggest that humane and responsible regulations will be enforced, because the market forces you fetishise will gravitate towards the least expensive, least regulated, least accountable locations. It is what they do. As sure as the sparks fly upwards. Are you saying that you consider it immoral to take a medicine tested on a rat, but if the Khazakstan minister of science assured you that everything was cool, that would be okay? Sure they volunteered, we got the signature right here.

    ‘All you guys are saying is “its immoral”. That is not a strong enough argument in itself because I see part of this happening already.’

    So do I. And it is immoral. It is not a foundation for a philosophy.

    finally (for the moment);

    ‘My point is that society is exploitative as it is, might as well do it properly.’

    Name one offense against human dignity which is not covered by that twisted rationale.

    Mirax was right, I don’t need to appeal to some puttative god for moral absolutes. You are fundamentally wrong on this.

  30. Suvir — on 28th February, 2006 at 9:27 pm  

    Looks like this discussion is no longer speculative: Sevagram is already conducting human trials on stroke victims for a German pharmaceutical company called Boehringer Ingelheim:

    “Patients in Sevagram are poor enough that the benefits of taking part in the study would amount to a health care windfall; among other things, Boehringer Ingelheim guaranteed participants two physicals during each of the three years that the trial would run. For each person enrolled, moreover, the hospital would receive 30,000 rupees (about $665) – no small amount, given the puny budget of the center’s stroke ward, a single room of eight pallet beds.”
    [Link]

  31. Sunny — on 28th February, 2006 at 9:34 pm  

    Yeah, except that if something (in this case the exploitation of the poor) is morally wrong, then ‘taking the next logical step’ is a step in the wrong direction.

    This is patronising actually. Aren’t poor people (let’s say in this country) not able to make informed decisions?

    You seem to have it in your head that I’m advocating forcing poor people to go through with this.

    All I’m saying is that they should voluntarily, after being provided with the information, be given the option to give themselves up for testing.

    I’ve already provided examples of how this already happens in various cases… all I’m saying is that allowing testing of drugs is simply an extension of what already happens. If you view giving yourself self up for testing as morally wrong – then don’t do it. But why shouldn’t the choice be there? This is simply a libertarian argument.

    So your argument that as they are treated like shit anyway we shouldn’t make a big deal of treating them like disposable lab rats does not hold water.

    It doesn’t hold water according to you because its morally wrong. That in itself isn’t an argument, merely an opinion. I could say that treating rats or chimpanzees or monkeys as disposable commodities is morally wrong. To that extent we have a difference of opinion, not a clash of facts.

    you’ll need better arguments to dissuade me.

    If people could make a cold decision to risk their health for gain
    People do that anyway.

    This is analogous to prostitution; middle class girl who decides to make fast money on her back in some fancy hotel, fine; her call.

    Exactly – I’ve always argued for the legalisation and regulation and taxation of prostitution.

    The Iranians don’t regulate and that reinforces your argument? WTF?

    It reinforces my argument that legalising such a trade of human body parts or entire bodies will not lead to a global exportation of buying bodies from third-world countries for exploitation.

    This means a dead subject. Not risk/reward. Dead. Risk doesn’t enter the equation. Where will you get your human subjects? Chinese prisons?

    People could sign a statement giving their dead bodies up for donations in return for a sum to their next of kin. Again, a voluntary system. I’m not advocating that dead people be kidnapped from the morgue and be experimented on.

    If you came upon a rat gnawing at a baby, would you deliberate about the rat’s entitlement to food? No, you would pick up a brick.

    What, saving a life now is suddenly animal cruelty? I can come up with bizarre analogies to make my points too but I prefer a sane discussion.

    If he was wearing a necklace of human ears you would consider him a vile psycho freak. Because you know it is not the same.

    Only because leather is a mass-produced and chemically engineered product, and for someone to have a necklace of human ears would require breaking into a morgue and cutting them off him/herself.

    I’m sure you would think someone wearing a necklace of animal ears is also a freak. Again – please try and come up with sane analogies, not some rubbish comparison.

    ‘People in poverty often suffer from multiple health problems at once — drug trials usually require those sorts of things to be controlled ‘

    I assume the pharma companies themselves can judge whether a subject is ripe for experimenting on.

    It is disingenuous to suggest that humane and responsible regulations will be enforced, because the market forces you fetishise will gravitate towards the least expensive, least regulated, least accountable locations

    Rubbish – companies face regulation all the time on various issues, and unless the authorities turn a blind eye on it – they usually follow regulations. Otherwise the punitive damages can be huge.

    If Britain legalises the practice, it doesn’t mean British companies can go to India to experiment on people there – they would still have to be chosen from and experimented on from here.

    Name one offense against human dignity

    You mean apart from governments using torture, producing biological weapons, investing in nuclear weapons, using chemical weapons during war (cluster bombs most recently in Iraq), allowing people (in India for example) to live in the most obscenely squallid positions, allowing massacres around the world to go on…. having such an injust legal system (where you have to buy the best lawyers), having a situation where the poor people have no where to even live (like gypsies) and allow the media to target them, while the rich offshore all their money to avoid paying taxes.

    You must be having a laugh…

  32. Don — on 28th February, 2006 at 11:25 pm  

    No’ I’m not having a laugh. May I say that your last post summed up our positions accurately and clearly. I’m wiling to rest my case right here.

  33. Don — on 28th February, 2006 at 11:36 pm  

    OK, I was trying for a dignified exit, but this;

    I assume the pharma companies themselves can judge whether a subject is ripe for experimenting on.

    and this;

    ‘companies face regulation all the time on various issues, and unless the authorities turn a blind eye on it – they usually follow regulations’

    ‘You mean apart from governments using …’

    No, I mean including all that stuff you mention, which comes under the heading of ‘society is exploitative as it is, might as well do it properly’.

    Where is your logic leading you to?

  34. Sunny — on 1st March, 2006 at 12:42 am  

    Where is your logic leading you to?

    The case for legalising human testing is based on the premise that humans get turned into lab rats, that then become nothing more than commodities.

    You find that abhorrent and morally wrong because in your head it smacks of: “but you’re not treating these people like people. You’ve taken away their pride and made into guinea pigs at the mercy of the lab assistant.”

    Exactly. People become nothing more than subjects. Like pieces meat you can buy or sell for the right price.

    Now consider animal testing. On an evolutionary ladder, granted that they do not have the same capabilities as us. I’m not saying they don’t have less capabilities than us because there are plenty of things animals can do that we cannot eve hope to.

    You don’t value animal life as much as human life. Fine. But what has happened in the last thirty years isn’t a simple exploitation of the animal for our benefit… i.e. milking a cow, using the a horse to ride, working with a dog to hunt.

    No.

    We’ve turned them into soul-less commodities. Into piece of meat that should not pretend to have feelings, relationships – let alone lives. Scientists can do whatever they want with them, subject them to any sort of experiment because they are not living beings – they are flesh that can be bought or sold.

    The vast majority of people know this, but avert there eyes. They shrug and carry on…. as long as it’s not them being electrocuted and fed bizarre pills….. oh wait….

    I digress.

    Only by forcing humans to understand this unwritten social contract we have forced the rest of the planet into – can we learn to treat them as something that has life.

  35. El Cid — on 1st March, 2006 at 12:45 pm  

    i assume you are a veggie

  36. Arif — on 5th March, 2006 at 7:21 pm  

    Would it be morally acceptable for scientists from a superintelligent and powerful alien species to use human beings for their own medical experiments?

    If the aliens were having a debate and some started to argue that if these medical experiments are so necessary for their species, then it should get volunteers from among themselves rather than harvest humans. Whose side would human philosophers (or Pickled Politics bloggers) be on?

    I object to Sunny’s proposal of a market in human subjects but I would prefer my hypothetical aliens to find some way among themselves not to make an industry out of torturing humans. It would be very sad If they couldn’t use their hyperintelligence to create a society that can survive without torturing some species or another to increase their medical knowledge.

  37. jim — on 16th March, 2006 at 11:27 am  

    how can i get paid for testing drugs

  38. David T — on 16th March, 2006 at 11:48 am  

    My guess is that the payment rate has just gone up, considerably

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