We live in a time of possibilities. Today everyone can buy some drugs if ill, to recover faster. If one has money, there is no reason to be afraid to die of pneumonia. Rich people have the possibility to stay healthy and do not decease young. However, if one is poor and lives in Africa, Asia, Latin America or Eastern Europe, risk of dying in infancy has high chances. The reason of such injustice is money. Today, money decides human lives.
Pharmaceutical companies experience rapid growth and make money on experimental drugs. They use guinea pigs from poor countries to test new medicines. It is not enough for the pharmaceutical industry to conduct experiments on animals. This problem is growing with every next day, but not much is done for prevention of murders. Still, this information leaks out. As a result, such movies like The Constant Gardener appear on TV screens.
Sonia Shah wrote the article with regards to the issue that was raised in the atmospheric drama The Constant Gardener. Western drug company was accused of conducting experimental drugs on unsuspecting African villagers. The plot of the movie is extremely close to life – the number of drug trials is constantly increasing. In the article The Constant Gardener: What the Movie Missed, Sonia Shah provides with a lot of examples of inhuman drug experiments on poor people from developing countries. One of the arguments that the writer develops in her article is the suppression of unethical drug experiments. In the West, experimental protocols are condemned. Nevertheless, when the subjects are poor Asians or Africans, one will rarely show any reaction or concern. Why do we divide human lives according to their purses and credit cards? Those who are supposed to heal do it selectively.
This problem cannot be solved by printing few critical reports. The government of each country must put an emphasis on this issue. People from Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa must be aware of the danger that not tested drugs may cause. Every person who conforms to take part in the experiment should get the whole information about the medicine, risks and side effects.
The condemnation of the drug companies is not as easy as the movie makes us believe. In the real life, one uncompromising activist cannot obtain justice. Pharmaceutical companies work like one giant machine, involving substantial amounts of money. What is more, new drugs are not uniformly dead. Moreover, they work, but not always and not for everybody. There are a lot of nuances that are hidden and rarely mentioned. However, behind the curtains it is hardly to notice every broken life and unfortunate results of medicines. Utilitarian desire of pharmaceutical companies to extract financial benefits from unethical drug experiments is amoral.
Utilitarian theory is based on highest utility. The action may be considered right if it brings the utility for majority. The desires of one particular person are not taken under the consideration; lives are being understated. This is what pharmaceutical companies do. They are conducting drug tests to get the cure for all diseases. However, they do not pay attention to those guinea pigs that are suffering from side effects. I do not think that this theory is right. The happiness of the majority should not be created by the grief of the particular group of individuals. Kant’s theory is more humane. Kant stands against treating anybody as an instrument to promote ends to which they have not agreed. Every person must be respected, despite the status or race. We are all equal and want to be healthy and happy. However, there are those who forgot about the world cooperation. I am not against the tests in general, but I am sure that those who take part in the drug tests must be aware of the probable risks. What is more, in some cases, people must know that tests are being conducted on them. In case of drug testing on human subjects, I would require every drug company to follow the rules above and do not forget that we all are human beings. Morality and humanity are two wings, which would help medicine reach better tomorrow.
If there is a law, which would tell “Every American shall have to serve at least once in his or her life as a subject in a clinical trial for a drug. While the trial may involve substantial risk, the test will be approved by the National Board of Ethics of Drug Testing”, I think that I would not support it. The clinical trial is not supposed to be obligatory for everybody. Why should I risk my life for it? From one hand, it may bring a lot of good and favor – we can find the cure of terrible diseases like AIDS or cancer. From other hand, it is supposed to be tested on cells and rodents, at first. During this first stage, the substantial risk must be minimized. I would probably agree to take part in a drug testing if I were 80 years old. I suppose I would not be afraid to die in that age. Nevertheless, everybody has the right to choose, especially if one’s health or life is under consideration.
We live in time of possibilities. All ways are open for us, and we can do almost everything, except forgetting about humanity and morality. Human life is the most valuable thing in the world.