Letter: Barbaric drug tests

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The Independent Culture

Barbaric drug tests

Sir: The claim of some pharmaceutical companies that no harm will come to those who volunteer to test their products is self-evident nonsense ("Anyone for pesticide", 29 July). If they knew that, they would not need to test the product.

The use of human guinea pigs recruited from the most insecure sections of society (witness the adverts in The Big Issue) is a barbaric practice. It is no answer for the companies concerned to say that the transaction is voluntary. If a relationship is exploitative, getting the weaker party to consent through a bribe does not make everything all right. It would be no answer to a charge of paedophilia for the participants to explain their relationship was consensual.


The Law Programme

The Open University

Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire