The Null Device

Hard currency for human guinea pigs

What does a cash-strapped totalitarian regime do for money? Well, one option is to sell its citizens for medical research, as it's now revealed East Germany did in the 1980s:
In another case, Annelise Lehrer, the widow of a former East German heart patient discovered that her husband Gerhard had been part of a batch of patients who were unwittingly subjected to testing for the blood pressure drug Ramipril, which was developed by the former Hoechst company in 1989. Gerhard Lehrer died soon after his release from an East German hospital in 1989. His wife discovered that in keeping with Hoechst’s testing procedure, he had been part of a group which was given placebos and had received no treatment for his heart condition.
The makers of Tests and the Dead said they had identified the individuals who had organised drug tests for Hoechst in East Germany, but all of them had categorically refused to be interviewed.
Two thoughts: a) surely those involved can be prosecuted? And, b) I wonder which of the world's pharmaceutical companies are doing similar deals in, say, North Korea today.

There are 3 comments on "Hard currency for human guinea pigs":

Posted by: Niall Fri Dec 7 23:09:03 2012

Imprecise use of "totalitarian" there; East Germany wasn't.

Posted by: acb Sat Dec 8 01:06:53 2012

If East Germany, with the omnipresent Stasi and its network of informers (which was an order of magnitude more pervasive than under the Third Reich), the state's control over all aspects of cultural life, the lack of freedom of travel, expression or association, and the fact that those who espoused the wrong opinions or kept the wrong company could end up losing their jobs, university places or apartments, wasn't totalitarian, then totalitarianism doesn't exist in the real world.

Posted by: Greg Sat Dec 8 12:46:00 2012