third world

  1. Should Big Pharma be testing drugs overseas?

    Should Big Pharma be testing drugs overseas?

    I've made no secret of the fact that I'm uncomfortable with the effects of globalization on the pharmaceutical manufacturing. There have been a lot of disturbing stories in the past year involving the Big Pharma firms using tainted, foreign-made ingredients in drugs that are then distributed here in the States. Often, these ingredients come from China. And just as often, the result has led to unnecessary sickness and death in the U.S.

    Now there's a new twist in the medical outsourcing world that's gaining attention - the globalization of clinical drug trials.

    Duke University researchers have been pretty outspoken about the ethical issues that come with running the clinical trials for new drugs in developing countries, and then using that research to help a drug get FDA approval for use in the U.S.

    The Duke report, "Ethical and Scientific Implications of the Globalization of Clinical Research," says that testing in the Third World is unethical since the volunteers in these countries might be overly influenced by the monetary benefits of participating in a study. Right… as if people in the Third World are the only ones influenced by money!

    Whether it's unethical or not, I don't know. Either way, I still think it's a bad idea. The FDA has a hard enough time managing and regulating what goes on here on our own soil. Imagine how quickly a system like this would be go down the tubes if it were tucked away in some Third World country.

    The study's lead author Dr. Kevin A. Schulman, professor of Medicine at Duke's Fuqua School of Business said, "We don't want to imagine that lower-income countries are the clinical trial mill for higher-income countries." This implies a kind of imperial exploitation of the Third World poor by the corporations of a wealthy nation.

    Of course, it's a strange argument, considering that when clinical trials are conducted here in the U.S. it's just as likely to be the American poor who will be attracted to the financial benefits of participating in a study. Why do these researchers consider it more unethical if it's the less advantaged of another country rather than the less advantaged right here at home?

    But there's more to it than that. The report also calls into question whether the trial results for drugs tested on foreign patients are even relevant when the drug is meant for distribution in by a U.S.-based patient pool.

    How well do these offshore tests prepare a drug for use in the States? One of the reasons that this practice is gaining popularity is that it's a lot easier to find a large number of study group subjects who have never taken medication of any kind, which can really help to isolate the test results. As you can imagine, trying to find a similar group of test subjects here in the pharma-crazy U.S. would be next to impossible.

    However, you can't deny that in some Third World nations, the population could have entirely different metabolic reactions to drugs due to local environmental factors or even genetic mutations that are particular to their population. This, says study co-author Dr. Seth Glickman, means there could be "issues with the interpretability of the findings."

    Don't expect me to back Big Pharma here. Make no mistake about the reason this practice has gained popularity: money. It's far cheaper to conduct these tests overseas for very much the same reason it's cheaper to make clothes, sneakers, or cars overseas - the population that can be bought for less.

  2. Mexico shirks responsibility for illnesses

    Mexico shirks responsibility for illnesses

    The continuing folly of our government's "regulatory" agencies - who seem not to be able to regulate their way out of a paper bag - underscores what I've already told you about this whole salmonella fiasco.

    According to the latest news, the FDA seems to have FINALLY tracked the source of the recent outbreak of salmonella. And guess what? The source was traced to irrigation water and a Serrano pepper from a farm in - where else? - Mexico. This "key breakthrough" finally brings to an end the massive hunt for ground zero in the recent spread of Salmonella Saintpaul that first started back in April.

    This time, it's not U.S. producers that are at fault, but the questionable sanitary practices of farmers from the Third World that are the root cause of the latest outbreak of nastiness here in the U.S. Would someone please tell me when our government is going to wise up to the fact that Mexico is NOT Canada South? This place is rife with the kind of health and food problems that routinely plague other impoverished Third World nations. Mexico's proximity to the U.S. doesn't mean that what happens there is any different than what happens in the poorest countries in Africa or Asia.

    In light of this recent outbreak, a moratorium of six months to a year on ALL Mexican produce wouldn't be out of line. But thanks to disasters like the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), that's never going to happen.

    Naturally, Mexican officials are backpedaling, and have called the FDA's findings "premature." Enrique Sanchez, service director of Mexico's National Sanitation and Farm Food Quality, even sent a letter to the U.S. government "expressing our concern and most forceful complaint against this decision."

    The unmitigated gall of the Mexican government never ceases to amaze me. It reminds me of when their president yelled at our president because we had the "nerve" to send the illegal immigrants from Mexico BACK to Mexico!

    Sanchez said the FDA "has no scientific proof to make a decision that will harm Mexico enormously." Sanchez and the rest of the so-called Mexican government just don't get it: the FDA doesn't NEED to have any proof, scientific or otherwise, to issue a statement to protect the health of American citizens. Quite frankly, I don't care a whit for what kind of harm is done to Mexico - I'd rather see a dozen Mexican farms suffer than to have one American citizen be sickened by tainted Mexican produce.

    Don't forget that when this outbreak first started, it was American tomato farmers who felt the brunt of FDA warnings - even though their product was not, ultimately, found to be at fault for the outbreak. If the U.S. government has the power to make its own farmers endure a crop ban, how can the Mexican government believe that their farms are somehow immune from this treatment?

    The problem is that the Mexican government doesn't really take U.S. national sovereignty seriously. They figure that the U.S. and Mexico are essentially the same country, and that Mexican labor and goods should be able to flow freely over the border (in a northerly direction only, of course) with complete impunity. And Sanchez's outrageous assumption that the U.S. government needs to take into account what effect FDA safety measures will have on Mexico's economy just underscores this point.

    Let's also remember that since the Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak was detected, upwards of 1,200 people have been infected with the virus, across 43 states, Washington, D.C., and Canada. As many as 242 have been hospitalized as a result of the infection. According to the CDC, there are usually only about 25 reported cases of this strain of salmonella per year.

    Hopefully now that the source of this outbreak has been found, it will put the brakes on this latest scourge from Mexico. This incident is yet another object lesson in the dangers of allowing elements of the Third World to creep into the U.S. and endanger the health and welfare of our people. We should be shutting our southern border not only to people - but to fruits and vegetables, too.

  3. Disease of illegal immigration spreads to America's poor

    It's all over the news these days: Exotic diseases are on the rise here in the U.S.
  4. Researchers warn of third world diseases in the U.S.

    Posted by: on
    Schistosomiasis is caused by flatworms that live in snail-infested fresh water; this water is contaminated by worm eggs when infected people urinate or defecate into it.

4 Item(s)