NIH Turns Foster Children Into Guinea Pigs

In a story that is disturbingly reminiscent of the Environmental Protection Agency’s CHEERS program, the Associated Press reports that for the past two decades researchers from the National Institutes of Health “tested AIDS drugs on hundreds of foster children … often without providing them a basic protection afforded in federal law and required by some states.” The already vulnerable population of mostly poor or minority foster children was “exposed … to the risks of medical research and drugs that were known to have serious side effects in adults and for which the safety for children was unknown.”

The studies are known to have spanned the country and the practice has been confirmed “in at least seven states — Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Colorado, and Texas — and involved more than four dozen different studies.” A number of the studies resulted in the children “[suffering] side effects such as rashes, vomiting and sharp drops in infection-fighting blood cells.” In a particular study, “researchers reported a ‘disturbing’ higher death rate among children who took higher doses of a drug. That study was unable to determine a safe and effective dosage.”