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A healer’s first rule is ‘do no harm,’ right? Not necessarily. Growing numbers of drug researchers are heading for little-regulated Third World countries to test their wares, and the dubious ethics of some recent such trials has ignited a hot debate among doctors and scientists. The issue will be high on the agenda as the World Medical Association meets this week, reports the GUARDIAN (UK).

In one test in China, people were deliberately infected with malaria to see if it reduced the level of HIV infection. Hundreds of infants unlucky enough to be born into the control group of a study in Africa were allowed to become infected with HIV when the condition might have been prevented.

Defenders of these tests say the more stringent guidelines used in the US and other developed countries, which require the control group to be given some form of treatment, would be meaningless in poor countries. In, say, Uganda, they argue, the only alternative to the test drug is no drug, so that’s what the tests should use. “It is all well and good to create something in Uganda that simulates London or New York [by giving various treatments to all the groups in a trial], but what you get out of that is data that is no good anywhere other than London or New York,” says Robert Levine, a professor at Yale University School of Medicine.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

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