jueves, 12 de diciembre de 2013

CHINA: Paid to be a Guinea Pig.




Risks from participating in medical trials are greater than many people imagine, reports Yang Wanli.
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Ren is one of about 500,000 people in China who participate in medical trials every year. He usually took part in phase 1 trials, which can help scientists determine the best way to administer new treatments and the safe maximum dosage. (...)

"I believe most of the products are made using similar, possibly even the same, formulas as those used in other countries for years, so they are safe," he said. "Sick people take medicine to treat diseases, and we test the medicines for them - it's a commitment. Since it's inevitable that everyone will take some form of medicine during their lifetime, it doesn't matter when you take it." 

However, the risks inherent in participating in medical trials are real and greater than many people imagine, because of the almost inevitable side effects. Many are temporary and disappear when the participant stops taking the medicine, but others can be long-term or permanent. Also, while some side effects appear during the testing process, others may not show until the treatment is over. Moreover, by their very nature the treatments are new, so the doctors don't always know what the side effects will be.

The dose given to each subject varies; some participants are given a high dose, some are given a small amount and others receive a placebo, a treatment that contains no trace of the drug being tested. Who gets what is decided randomly, but the risks are always greater for those chosen to receive a high dose because the reaction varies from person to person.

Despite being fully aware of the potential risks, thousands of men and women, blinded by the relatively large sums on offer, are happy to take every possible opportunity to "make a living" through the trials. (Más)
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