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Monday, 1st August

New America Media, Interview with Viji Sundaram

U.S. pharmaceutical companies have moved their operations overseas in the past decade, testing their drugs on poor people in such lands as Russia, China, Brazil and Romania. It is a $30 billion business, and today around 105 countries are allowing such large corporations as Merck and AstraZeneca to conduct clinical trials on their soil.

One country that has experienced a boom like no other in this industry is India, with its widely spoken English, an established medical infrastructure and welcoming attitudes towards foreign industry. Most importantly, these pharmaceutical companies are exploiting the country’s vast number of illiterate and poor people who are willing to become guinea pigs.

The U.S. Justice Department, along with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, is paying closer attention to interactions between the pharmaceutical industry and foreign governments. In recent months, at least five big drug makers have received letters as the federal government seeks to uncover any violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which forbids U.S.companies from bribing foreign government officials.

Zeina Awad, a reporter for Al Jazeera’s “Fault Lines” program, traveled to India to investigate clinical research being conducted there. She explored what role the United States regulatory agencies are playing in overseeing the clinical trials, and whether the testing complies with international ethical standards.

Her report, “Outsourced: Clinical Trials Overseas,” aired on Al Jazeera English recently.

New America Media Health Editor Viji Sundaram interviewed Awad about what she found...

Full story and interview: http://newamericamedia.org/2011/08/us-pharmaceutical-companies-testing-drugs-on-indias-poor.php


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