Sunday, August 13, 2006

Dr. Mengele Panel Suggests Using Inmates in Drug Trials

From the New York Times

By IAN URBINAPHILADELPHIA, Aug. 7 — An influential federal panel of medical advisers has recommended that the government loosen regulations that severely limit the testing of pharmaceuticals on prison inmates, a practice that was all but stopped three decades ago after revelations of abuse.

The proposed change includes provisions intended to prevent problems that plagued earlier programs. Nevertheless, it has dredged up a painful history of medical mistreatment and incited debate among prison rights advocates and researchers about whether prisoners can truly make uncoerced decisions, given the environment they live in.

Supporters of such programs cite the possibility of benefit to prison populations, and the potential for contributing to the greater good.
Until the early 1970’s, about 90 percent of all pharmaceutical products were tested on prison inmates, federal officials say. But such research diminished sharply in 1974 after revelations of abuse at prisons like Holmesburg here, where inmates were paid hundreds of dollars a month to test items as varied as dandruff treatments and dioxin, and where they were exposed to radioactive, hallucinogenic and carcinogenic chemicals.

In addition to addressing the abuses at Holmesburg, the regulations were a reaction to revelations in 1972 surrounding what the government called the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male, which was begun in the 1930’s and lasted 40 years. In it, several hundred mostly illiterate men with syphilis in rural Alabama were left untreated, even after a cure was discovered, so that researchers could study the disease.

“What happened at Holmesburg was just as gruesome as Tuskegee, but at Holmesburg it happened smack dab in the middle of a major city, not in some backwoods in Alabama,” said Allen M. Hornblum, an urban studies professor at Temple University and the author of “Acres of Skin,” a 1998 book about the Holmesburg research. “It just goes to show how prisons are truly distinct institutions where the walls don’t just serve to keep inmates in, they also serve to keep public eyes out.”

Now hang on a damn minute. We, as citizens, do not have the right to choose what drugs we ingest. If caught ingesting something not approved by the government we are locked in prison where apparently it is ok for the government to force us to serve as guinea pigs for their pharmaceutical concoctions. So, we can't drug ourselves but, we can be drugged by the government. I have a very serious problem with that. Anyone with morals ought to have a very serious problem with that. The evil Dr. Mengeles' who are discussing this horrid idea should immediately be sentenced to prison or worse....

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