I read this article today about the outsourcing of drugs to test on Indian patients A New Healing Touch
This article brings forth some important questions:
Is it really necessary for us to encourage testing of drugs on Indian patients, most of them naiive and god-reverent towards physicians as admitted by the article itself? What do we gain by it?
Admittedly, testing on Indian patients does have its advantages, the most important being that the drugs would be meant for the Indian body and thus a more effective healer. The Indian government has also banned Phase I testing, which is the testing conducted immediately after the testing on animals. They are planning to change it but letâ€™s hope they donâ€™t do that yet.
But the drawbacks are huge. The average Indian patient is conservative and would not submit to such trials easily. Thus the only patients who would consent to such trials are patients who do not understand much of what is going on and just blindly trust his physician. Such people tend to be on the verge of the poverty line, if not beneath it and may be attracted to the trials by the perks it offers, like free treatment etc. Sure disclaimers could be read out to them and physicians could explain to them what is happening and what is going to happen but will people who equate the physician with gods themselves listen? Will they think for themselves before signing on the dotted line?
And if the answer is no then is it really wise of the government to allow such trials?