A Scandal in Human Research on Diarrheal Disease

Annie Heathorn

According to the Dr. Rashid Haider, scientific fraud and falsification have increased dramatically in recent years.  One area in particular is vaccine trials tested in distant, developing countries where infectious diseases run ramped and government/ scientific infrastructure is weak.  Mandatory tests are often not performed according to False Reports on Vaccine Trials  by Dr. Haider.

One such scandal occurred in February, 2011, when The International Centre for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh launched a large scale testing of a cholera vaccine in a suburb of Dhaka, India.  The vaccine was proved to only offer 10% protection against cholera and thus almost useless as a diarrhoeal tool. The researchers had offered false information about the making, effectiveness and cost of the vaccine.  They had treated 90,000 impoverished, rural women and children as experimental animals.  While the intent of the testing was to create a cholera vaccine for the poor of India, the trial became unethical when the results were exploited for profit by European vaccine companies.  Public Health advocates of the area demonstrated how the ICDDR,B raised false alarm, exaggerating the need for their vaccine in order to make a product on unknowing residents of Dhaka. The outcome- hundreds of residents had bought the vaccine, believing themselves to be cured, when most of them did not need it, and those that did were in no way protected.  ICDDR,B never bothered to tell the participants that the vaccine was discovered to be useless.

This scandal is epitomozied with a quote from Paul Farmers book, where Marcio Fabri dos Anjos: “To what level of quality can medical ethics aspire, if it ignores callous discrimination in medical practice against large populations of the innocent poor?”.

Westerners testing on rural Cholera patients.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s