Conducting clinical trials in the developing world also enables drug companies to keep costs lower for the trials and therefore renders the final product more affordable. This is an outcome which benefits all individuals in the long run.
Demand for drugs that will treat increasingly common global problems such as diabetes is expanding, and proponents of these trials further add that it is necessary and beneficial that the populations they are tested upon are diverse. This enables researchers to gain a more broad-based sense of the extent to which drugs may affect different populations. Opponents would counter that the diverse range of factors that can affect the results of global trials (such as the effects of poverty) is a detriment to the scientific purity of the results. Furthermore, many individuals in the developing world are attractive to researchers because they do not take additional medications. They can thus provide more straightforward experimental groups and controls. But this may fail to take into consideration how other drugs can impact the side effects and results of the medications, as in the developed world drugs are more likely to be used in combination with other medical treatments.
Few would deny that it is necessary to make sure that participant patients are well cared for and monitored, and receive treatment for illnesses not specific to the trial, as part of their compensation for their treatment. But the health literacy of the population and their ability to give full consent and their communitys ability to benefit from the tested drug treatments still remain an open question. Finally, many advocates state that if drug companies are profiting off of trials in the developing world, they have a moral obligation to research and treat diseases such as dengue fever that are not present in the West, but afflict the developing world and often go under-studied because sufferers lack the financial resources to afford treatment.
Kermani, Faiz. (2010, January 12). Difficult issues in pharma going global. Pharma Phorum.
Retrieved October 30, 2010 at http://www.pharmaphorum.com/2010/01/12/difficult-issues-in-pharma-going-global-part-i/
Research ethics: Tuskegee Syphilis study. Retrieved October 30, 2010 at http://www.tuskegee.edu/global/story.asp?s=1207598.