The Professional Guinea Pig: Big Pharma and the Risky World of Human Subjects

Duke University Press
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The Professional Guinea Pig documents the emergence of the professional research subject in Phase I clinical trials testing the safety of drugs in development. Until the mid-1970s Phase I trials were conducted on prisoners. After that practice was outlawed, the pharmaceutical industry needed a replacement population and began to aggressively recruit healthy, paid subjects, some of whom came to depend on the income, earning their living by continuously taking part in these trials. Drawing on ethnographic research among self-identified “professional guinea pigs” in Philadelphia, Roberto Abadie examines their experiences and views on the conduct of the trials and the risks they assume by participating. Some of the research subjects he met had taken part in more than eighty Phase I trials. While the professional guinea pigs tended to believe that most clinical trials pose only a moderate health risk, Abadie contends that the hazards presented by continuous participation, such as exposure to potentially dangerous drug interactions, are discounted or ignored by research subjects in need of money. The risks to professional guinea pigs are also disregarded by the pharmaceutical industry, which has become dependent on the routine participation of experienced research subjects. Arguing that financial incentives compromise the ethical imperative for informed consent to be freely given by clinical-trials subjects, Abadie confirms the need to reform policies regulating the participation of paid subjects in Phase I clinical trials.
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About the author

Roberto Abadie is a visiting scholar with the Health Sciences Doctoral Programs at the Graduate Center, City University of New York.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Duke University Press
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Published on
Jul 9, 2010
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Pages
197
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ISBN
9780822393245
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Medical / Ethics
Social Science / Anthropology / Cultural & Social
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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From the era of slavery to the present day, the first full history of black America’s shocking mistreatment as unwilling and unwitting experimental subjects at the hands of the medical establishment.

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In this heartfelt memoir from one of the youngest recipients of the transorbital lobotamy, Howard Dully shares the story of a painfully dysfunctional childhood, a misspent youth, his struggle to claim the life that was taken from him, and his redemption.

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Revealing what happened to a child no one—not his father, not the medical community, not the state—was willing to protect, My Lobotomy exposes a shameful chapter in the history of the treatment of mental illness. Yet, ultimately, this is a powerful and moving chronicle of the life of one man.

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A doctor discovers the surprising truth about marijuana

No substance on earth is as hotly debated as marijuana. Opponents claim it’s dangerous, addictive, carcinogenic, and a gateway to serious drug abuse. Fans claim it as a wonder drug, treating cancer, anorexia, AIDS, chronic pain, glaucoma, arthritis, migraines, PTSD, and insomnia. Patients suffering from these conditions need—and deserve—hard facts based on medical evidence, not hysteria and superstition.

In Stoned, palliative care physician Dr. David Casarett sets out to do anything—including experimenting on himself—to find evidence of marijuana’s medical potential. He smears mysterious marijuana paste on his legs and samples pot wine. He poses as a patient at a seedy California clinic and takes lessons from an artisanal hash maker. In conversations with researchers, doctors, and patients around the world he learns how marijuana works—and doesn’t—in the real world.

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From the Hardcover edition.
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