Ethical aspects of the safety of medicines and other social chemicals

Science and Engineering Ethics 1 (3):283-298 (1995)
Abstract
The historical background of the discovery of adverse health effects of medicines, food additives, pesticides, and other chemicals is reviewed, and the development of national and international regulations and testing procedures to protect the public against the toxic effects of these drugs and chemicals is outlined. Ethical considerations of the safety evaluation of drugs and chemicals by human experimentation and animal toxicity studies, ethical problems associated with clinical trials, with the falsification of clinical and toxicological data, and with inadequate experimental methodology, are reviewed, and the ethics of the marketing of drugs and their post-marketing surveillance, are similarly considered. These ethical problems are illustrated with many specific examples, including the drugs neoarsphenamine, chloramphenicol, thalidomide, diethyl stilboestrol and benoxaprofen.
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