Human Guinea Pigs: High Risk Trials

Before launching a drug onto the market, pharmaceutical companies have to carry out tests on humans to verify their safety. What are the procedures? What are the regulatory requirements, and are they respected everywhere? Volunteers agree to put their bodies and lives in the hands of companies like Pfizel, Glaxo, and Novartis. But in recent years there have been cases where these guinea pigs have been hospitalised and even killed as a result of tests. We look into these cases.

The pharmaceutical industry, like all other industries, has seen a rise in offshoring in recent years. Companies look to poorer countries where wages are low to entice volunteers, who can earn many times their normal salaries through these tests – unemployed, students; many people now earn their living off medical trials. Poland has become the European hotspot, and India has the most human guinea pigs in the world. However conditions in poorer countries are much shadier and seem to involve higher risks.


  • Year: 2013
  • Duration: 52 mins
  • Production: MAGNETO PRESSE
  • Director: Marianne Kerfriden
  • Available Versions: FRA
  • Country of production: France

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