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    (Original post by Andy the Anarchist)
    So what about drugs such as thalidomide?

    I mean, it took years for the effects to be apparent, and your analogy of self ownership doesn't really work when the people who bore the effects of the drug never consented to taking it.
    Well clearly if companies make systematic misrepresentations of the effects of their drugs, they are guilty of fraud or even negligence and should be treated as such in the usual way. What I think is more likely to happen is that drug companies will have to be a bit more upfront about their level of knowledge of the side-effects of new drugs, and they will have to be 'at your own risk' to some extent. There is also every reason for private organizations to provide their own credentials - for instance, I wouldn't be surprised if some drugs (like aspirin) were approved by the General Medical Council, while others, more speculative ones perhaps, were released on that basis.
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    (Original post by DrunkHamster)
    Well clearly if companies make systematic misrepresentations of the effects of their drugs, they are guilty of fraud or even negligence and should be treated as such in the usual way. What I think is more likely to happen is that drug companies will have to be a bit more upfront about their level of knowledge of the side-effects of new drugs, and they will have to be 'at your own risk' to some extent. There is also every reason for private organizations to provide their own credentials - for instance, I wouldn't be surprised if some drugs (like aspirin) were approved by the General Medical Council, while others, more speculative ones perhaps, were released on that basis.
    Well you've ignored the amount of time that it would take for symptoms to be traced back to the drug in some cases, not to mention the fact that drug companies are very likely to suppress findings which demonstrate the harmfulness of their drugs, and the absence of a non-private watchdog would make it difficult for unbiased research demonstrating a drug's harmfulness to be produced. Not to mention the massive problems inherent in individuals having the resources to sue large drug companies and win (they have expensive lawyers for a reason).
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    (Original post by Andy the Anarchist)
    Well you've ignored the amount of time that it would take for symptoms to be traced back to the drug in some cases, not to mention the fact that drug companies are very likely to suppress findings which demonstrate the harmfulness of their drugs, and the absence of a non-private watchdog would make it difficult for unbiased research demonstrating a drug's harmfulness to be produced. Not to mention the massive problems inherent in individuals having the resources to sue large drug companies and win (they have expensive lawyers for a reason).
    I'm not sure this makes sense; how could drug companies suppress findings? My mental image of the market would look something like this: there are drug companies who come out with new drugs, and there are independent certification agencies who charge the drug companies for the use of their certification. Imagine they have gold, silver and bronze stars which particular drugs are given, reflecting their perceived level of safety. Now, the certification companies would have a huge great incentive to maintain their independence, for the simple reason that if they were ever found to be taking kickbacks from the drug companies, their reputation would be dirt - and it is their reputation which keeps them in business. Nor would the certification firms give out gold stars to all and sundry, for the same reason - if they approved a drug which turns out to be a killer as safe, they are never going to be trusted again. So I find it hard to see that there would be any way for the drug companies to suppress findings, or even mislead people systematically on the safety of their drugs.

    Edit: Thinking about the moral issues involved with thalidomide, it's actually quite interesting - can someone who supports abortion consistently oppose people taking thalidomide while pregnant, if they want to? I'm not sure they can.
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    (Original post by DrunkHamster)
    I'm not sure this makes sense; how could drug companies suppress findings? My mental image of the market would look something like this: there are drug companies who come out with new drugs, and there are independent certification agencies who charge the drug companies for the use of their certification. Imagine they have gold, silver and bronze stars which particular drugs are given, reflecting their perceived level of safety. Now, the certification companies would have a huge great incentive to maintain their independence, for the simple reason that if they were ever found to be taking kickbacks from the drug companies, their reputation would be dirt - and it is their reputation which keeps them in business. Nor would the certification firms give out gold stars to all and sundry, for the same reason - if they approved a drug which turns out to be a killer as safe, they are never going to be trusted again. So I find it hard to see that there would be any way for the drug companies to suppress findings, or even mislead people systematically on the safety of their drugs.

    Edit: Thinking about the moral issues involved with thalidomide, it's actually quite interesting - can someone who supports abortion consistently oppose people taking thalidomide while pregnant, if they want to? I'm not sure they can.
    Well I'm not sure these cetification companies would arise on an open market. How would they? They presumably can't take money from drug companies without risking compromising their integrity. Anyway, I'm not sure you can prevent collusion, it happens in any industry in which there is a disparity between public knowledge and sellers' knowledge.

    And regarding the abortion thing, well presuming you're intending on carrying a child to term, I can't see any rationalisation for inflicting unnecessary suffering on this being when it is actually born, any more than I can see a justification for surgically removing both of its legs then carrying it to term.
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    (Original post by DrunkHamster)
    I'm not sure this makes sense; how could drug companies suppress findings? My mental image of the market would look something like this: there are drug companies who come out with new drugs, and there are independent certification agencies who charge the drug companies for the use of their certification. Imagine they have gold, silver and bronze stars which particular drugs are given, reflecting their perceived level of safety. Now, the certification companies would have a huge great incentive to maintain their independence, for the simple reason that if they were ever found to be taking kickbacks from the drug companies, their reputation would be dirt - and it is their reputation which keeps them in business. Nor would the certification firms give out gold stars to all and sundry, for the same reason - if they approved a drug which turns out to be a killer as safe, they are never going to be trusted again. So I find it hard to see that there would be any way for the drug companies to suppress findings, or even mislead people systematically on the safety of their drugs.

    Edit: Thinking about the moral issues involved with thalidomide, it's actually quite interesting - can someone who supports abortion consistently oppose people taking thalidomide while pregnant, if they want to? I'm not sure they can.
    Although you say they would do their best to ensure they didn't incorrectly give a "gold" standard to a drug which ends up being harmful in some way as someone else said, its often difficult to link what is causing an issue back to a drug. The advantage of massive clinical trials regulated by a central government authority is that it thoroughly analyses the drug across a lengthy period of time, slowly making it available to more and more members of public as proof of its efficacy and safety in the long term increases. The problem I could see with a private certification body is that as they are driven by profit making (yes, they do have reputation to uphold - but they are a company and the goal would be to be profitable) those steps and such which are very expensive/time consuming are likely to be "watered down" in order to make them cheaper or to lessen the time until the drug is approved for market use.

    Also your idea seems to be for the promotion of drugs which affect third-world countries or diseases with a high mortality rate. These drugs are already often fast-tracked through the MHRA/FDA clinical trials system.
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    Stealing is a hell worthy sin.
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    Yes. The entire way in which drug companies operate is unethical.
    Perhaps a solution would be to nationalise the pharmarceuticals industry, thereby transferring control of this highly important sector into the hands of the government, where the central aim would not be to generate vast profit, but to produce the most relevant and effectual drugs for public use.
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    (Original post by Olivia_Lightbulb)
    Yes. The entire way in which drug companies operate is unethical.
    Perhaps a solution would be to nationalise the pharmarceuticals industry, thereby transferring control of this highly important sector into the hands of the government, where the central aim would not be to generate vast profit, but to produce the most relevant and effectual drugs for public use.
    I can't imagine us smokers getting a good hand from a state ran drug company.
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    (Original post by Andy the Anarchist)
    Well I'm not sure these cetification companies would arise on an open market. How would they?
    Have you ever stayed in a hotel? If so, you've presumably heard of the AA Guide, and know that not even restaurant, pub and hotel is awarded 5 stars. This sort of 'inspection' system already exists in the real world, so it's not much of an argument to simply deny the possibility.

    As to the incentive for honesty or payment without collusion - I think you simply misunderstand the product being sold. The companies want people to trust their drugs. A drug that is safe and is known to be safe is worth more than a drug that is safe but is not known to be safe. It does the companies involved no good if the ratings systems are untrustworthy. So while it is certainly possible that a ratings company could collude with a drugs company, and can even be in the interests of the drug company sometimes, it isn't in the general interests of either party. For the drugs company, it will make all the ratings it has on its existing drugs (and has paid for) worthless, and for the ratings company, it will destroy its customer base - putting an endorsement from an organisation known to be corrupt and careless of human life on your products is going to make it less valuable, and no one is going to pay them for that.
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    Intellectual property is unethical.

    Something should only be property if;
    1. It's finite. (Ideas are not finite.)
    2. It takes up physical space/resources (Ideas do not.)
    3. It's a scarce resource that needs to be rationed (Ideas are not.)

    IP is a privilege to the rich at the massive loss of the poor.
 
 
 
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