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Drug Companies Accused Of Exploiting The Poor In Human Clinical Trials

Pharmaceutical companies are increasingly carrying out their clinical trials abroad – in developing and emerging nations, including in the so-called BRICS countries. But in their eagerness to save both time and money, are the drug companies also sidestepp

A hospital in Bangalore, India
A hospital in Bangalore, India
Andreas Möckli

The trend has gone largely unnoticed by the public at large. Yet more and more clinical studies are being conducted by the pharmaceutical industry in developing, and rapidly-developing countries. The objective of the studies is to test medication for effectiveness and side effects. But non-governmental organizations (NGOs) claim that when conducting tests in the developing countries, drug companies do not abide by the same ethical rules they would follow at home. As a result, participants in clinical trials conducted in developing countries are being abused, critics claim.

Exact figures for just how widespread the phenomenon is worldwide are not available. But as a report by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) reveals, between 2005 and 2009 some 26% of clinical studies submitted to the European Union for approval were conducted in Asia, Latin America, Africa, Middle East and Russia. That doesn't include the 10 new EU member states in Eastern Europe, which make up another 10%. Popular spots for clinical trials are: Brazil, India, China and South Africa – the so-called BRICS countries – and Poland.

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Ideas

García Márquez And Truth: How Journalism Fed The Novelist's Fantasy

In his early journalistic writings, the Colombian novelist Gabriel García Márquez showed he had an eye for factual details, in which he found the absurdity and 'magic' that would in time be the stuff and style of his fiction.

Colombian novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez reads his book

J. D. Torres Duarte

BOGOTÁ — In short stories written in the 1940s and early 50s and later compiled in Eyes of a Blue Dog, the late Gabriel García Márquez, Colombia's Nobel Prize-winning novelist, shows he is as yet a young writer, with a style and subjects that can be atypical.

Stylistically, García Márquez came into his own in the celebrated One Hundred Years of Solitude. Until then both his style and substance took an erratic course: touching the brevity of film scripts in Nobody Writes to the Colonel, technical experimentation in Leaf Storm, the anecdotal short novel in In Evil Hour or exploring politics in Big Mama's Funeral. Throughout, the skills he displayed were rather of a precocious juggler.

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