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The Professional Guinea Pig: Big Pharma and the Risky World of Human Subjects (Paperback)
  • The Professional Guinea Pig: Big Pharma and the Risky World of Human Subjects (Paperback)
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The Professional Guinea Pig: Big Pharma and the Risky World of Human Subjects (Paperback)

(author)
£20.99
Paperback 200 Pages / Published: 30/07/2010
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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.

Publisher: Duke University Press
ISBN: 9780822348238
Number of pages: 200
Weight: 299 g
Dimensions: 235 x 156 x 12 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
"The book makes a compelling argument for why test subjects in the US should be given more protection - and I take my hat off to the author for arguing the case."
- Clint Witchalls, New Scientist
"[An] intriguing and worrying book." - Scott McLemee, Inside Higher Ed
"[A]disturbing account. . . . The Professional Guinea Pig raises important questions." - Meredith Wadman, Nature
"Roberto Abadie has written an absorbing ethnographic study of clinical trials that focuses not on the clinic or the clinicians, the science or its development, but the research participants in phase one trials (the first stage of testing in humans). . . . [A] fascinating description of the subculture of regular drug-trial volunteers." - Nathan Emmerich, Times Higher Education Supplement
"The Professional Guinea Pig gives voice to volunteers skeptical of the current ethical protections in phase 1 trials, even as they endure the risks of those trials. . . . Readers will learn something about a fascinating counterculture. . . ." - Deborah R. Barnbaum, Nature Medicine
"The Professional Guinea Pig tells a fascinating story at the entrepreneurial and pharmaceuticalized heart of neoliberal medicine. . . . It is a riveting read and makes important contributions to the anthropologies of neoliberalism, pharmaceuticals, and the body." - Anne Pollock, American Anthropologist
"Roberto Abadie has given us a deep, complex, and profoundly disturbing investigation into the dark underside of the clinical trials industry. The Professional Guinea Pig is not just ethnography. It is a call to action." -Carl Elliott, author of Better than Well: American Medicine Meets the American Dream
"The Professional Guinea Pig gives voice to volunteers skeptical of the current ethical protections in phase 1 trials, even as they endure the risks of those trials. . . . Readers will learn something about a fascinating counterculture. . . ." -- Deborah R. Barnbaum * Nature Medicine *
"The Professional Guinea Pig tells a fascinating story at the entrepreneurial and pharmaceuticalized heart of neoliberal medicine. . . . It is a riveting read and makes important contributions to the anthropologies of neoliberalism, pharmaceuticals, and the body." -- Anne Pollock * American Anthropologist *
"[A]disturbing account. . . . The Professional Guinea Pig raises important questions." -- Meredith Wadman * Nature *
"Roberto Abadie has written an absorbing ethnographic study of clinical trials that focuses not on the clinic or the clinicians, the science or its development, but the research participants in phase one trials (the first stage of testing in humans). . . . [A] fascinating description of the subculture of regular drug-trial volunteers." -- Nathan Emmerich * Times Higher Education Supplement *
"The book makes a compelling argument for why test subjects in the US should be given more protection - and I take my hat off to the author for arguing the case."
-- Clint Witchalls * New Scientist *

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