The diabetes drug Avandia doesn't need more study -- it needs to be taken out back and shot, like a disloyal thug in a crime family.
Yet instead of pulling the trigger, the feds and Big Pharma are pushing forward on yet another study. Just one hitch: They can't find anyone dumb enough to swallow these death pills.
You'd have to be in a diabetic coma to have missed the all the studies that have linked Avandia to heart attacks and other serious problems. GlaxoSmithKline, its maker, just paid out $60 million to settle 700 lawsuits, and that's just the beginning -- at least 4,000 suits have been filed so far.
But what do they care? Even with sales plummeting, Avandia still manages to bring home the bacon. It took in $1.2 billion last year alone.
The study just getting under way now was ordered by the feds in 2007, when evidence of the heart problems first emerged. And so far, at least two U.S. trial sites have pulled out because they can't find any suckers willing to risk their lives in the name of bad medicine.
But that won't stop 'em.
You know the policy: If Americans won't do your dirty work, head south of the border... so they're recruiting Mexicans to try this med instead of you.
They're also recruiting in countries like India, Pakistan, Colombia, Latvia and anyplace else where the Avandia story didn't make big headlines. They're planning to study this med through 2015, giving who-knows-how-many Third Worlders their own First World lesson in diabetes mismanagement.
Better them than us -- but no wonder these people hate our guts. After all, this isn't exactly a rare occurrence. Overseas guinea pigs are the hottest thing in drug trials, since many of these countries have loose laws, low overhead, corruptible officials and legions of uninformed saps ready to volunteer.
The new Avandia study pushes the limits of decency even further -- because we already know this is a dangerous drug. Even some FDA officials have called this study unethical.
Good for them -- but I hope they're not planning on long careers in public health. You won't get very far by worrying about ethics!