US pharmaceutical companies move their operations
abroad, India has become a testing ground for trial
US pharmaceutical companies have moved their operations
overseas over the course of the past decade.
pharma and illiteracy in India
A massive testing ground
Instead of testing trial medicines on Americans, more
and more of these tests are being carried out on poor
people in faraway places. Russia, China, Brazil, Poland,
Uganda and Romania are all hot spots for what is called
clinical research or clinical trials.
Now employing CROs – or clinical research organisations
– the industry is big business, worth as much as $30bn
One country has experienced a boom like no other in this
industry – India. Spoken English, an established medical
infrastructure, welcoming attitudes toward foreign
industry and, most importantly, legions of poor,
illiterate test subjects that are willing to try out new
drugs have transformed the Indian landscape into a
massive testing ground for pharmaceuticals.
Al Jazeera’s Zeina Awad travels to
India to see what the clinical research practices look
like on the ground. What role are the US regulatory
bodies playing in overseeing the trials? Are
participants aware that they are taking part in a
clinical trial? Is the testing being held up against
international ethical standards?
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