Epidemics and Drug Testing

TitleEpidemics and Drug Testing
Publication TypeCase Study
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsHedahl, M, Henderson, M, Heurer, K, Nelson, JL, Rieder, TN, Whyte, K
Corporate AuthorsGeorgetown University Undergraduate Bioethics Society,, American Society for Bioethics + Humanities,
Date Published04/2013
PublisherGeorgetown University Undergraduate Bioethics Society
KeywordsBIOETHICS , CHEMISTRY , Human , Human Research Subjects , MEDICINE , Vulnerable , Vulnerable Populations
Abstract(Page 7 of PDF) ABC Pharmaceuticals produces Antibe, an antibiotic aproved for use in the U.S., but only for those who are severely ill because it causes liver and joint damage in 5% who take it. The drug has never been tested on children. When a meningitis epidemic breaks out in Africa, the company used the opportunity to test Antibe on children there. Meningitis kills about 10% of its victims, and leaves about 15% with neurological damage. Since the epidemic struck in a poor area, most children would have gone untreated. The research design had two arms, in the first, the children received Antibe, in the second they received standard treatment. Children were assigned randomly to one arm or another. Was ABC justified in taking advantage of this epidemic to test its drug on children?
NotesCase from the 2013 Bioethics Bowl head as part of the National Undergraduate Bioethics Conference. Hosted by Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. April 5-7, 2013.
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