Body Hunters: How the Drug Industry Tests Its Products On the World`s Poorest Patients

Foreword by John Le Carre

Winner, Prix Prescrire 2008

Library Journal’s Best Consumer Health Books, 2006

Available in French, Spanish, Italian, German, Portuguese, Japanese, and Korean

Imagine the uproar if dozens of drug-trial patients in America were to perish from deadly side effects known to the FDA. Consider the commotion if AIDS babies in Europe were to die while being administered placebos rather than potentially life-saving drugs. These scandals did happen—just elsewhere. In The Body Hunters, investigative journalist Sonia Shah describes drug trials in places like India and Zambia that would have occasioned outrage if conducted in the developed world.

The Body Hunters describes how the multinational pharmaceutical industry, in its quest to develop lucrative new drugs, has begun quietly exporting its clinical research business to the developing world, where ethical oversight is minimal, and desperate patients abundant. Faced with crumbling facilities, miniscule budgets and towering health crises, developing countries often encourage these very trials, even as they cause scarce resources to be diverted from providing care toward the business of servicing drug companies.

Based on several years of original research and reporting from Africa and Asia, The Body Hunters is a damning indictment of a new realm in the exploitation of the world’s poor. Tracing the checkered history of Western medical science in poor countries, it exposes the impossible choice being faced by many patients in the developing world—be experimented upon or die for lack of medicine.

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