We are often happy when new medication enters the market. People who die from illnesses can be saved and we can surround ourselves with our loved ones.
But there is a price to pay.
New medication has to be tested. Otherwise a scandal like the one with the Thalidomide children could be repeated. Untested medication from Germany was given to pregnant mothers. As result children were born with defects.
Today we are concerned with the use of animals in trials involving new medication.
However not so many decades ago new medication in Ireland were tested on children in asylums. Children who according to the morale of the time were unwanted were used as Guinea pigs for new types of vaccines.
Today it is not clear how many of the children who died as result of these trials.
Today we can agree that the doctors back then were misguided. Today we can agree that the entire system of asylums for unwanted unmarried mothers and children born outside marriage were wrong. The last asylum closed in 1996. It is not clear when the medical trials on the children stopped.
How do we set standard for clinical trials in the future, so we are not looked upon as barbarians by future generations?
Someone has to test it.
- Thalidomide (Wikipedia)
- Forced Vaccine Trials in Irish Mother and Baby Homes (Shame of Ireland blog)
- Mother-and-baby homes: It’s time for the State to realise de Valera’s ideals (Irish Examiner)