The Professional Guinea Pig: Big Pharma and the Risky World of Human Subjects

Presentation by Roberto Abadie

Wednesday, October 6, 11:30am-1:00pm
Washington, DC
American University (Main Campus)
East Quad (former SIS) Building Lounge
Questions: 202-885-1830

Medical anthropologist Roberto Abadie discusses his much-talked-about new book The Professional Guinea Pig, which documents the emergence of self-identified “professional guinea pigs” testing the safety of drugs in clinical trials. Drawing on ethnographic research with professional guinea pigs in Philadelphia, Abadie examines their experiences and views on the trials and the risks they assume by participating. With some research subjects having taken part in more than 80 trials, Abadie shows how risks to professional guinea pigs are disregarded by a pharmaceutical industry dependent on the routine participation of experienced research subjects. Arguing that financial incentives compromise the ethical imperative for informed consent to be freely given by clinical-trials subjects, Abadie confirms the need to reform policies regulating the participation in clinical trials.

Sponsored by the American University College of Arts and Sciences; Center on Health, Risk, and Society; & the Department of Anthropology

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