Ethics for Death or Life?

I should precisely be doing some work right now, some office work. Competitive Intelligence work is what I do for my love of the work. For a living, I do nothing. It just so happens that the work makes me independent and I am happy. Had, by any chance I not been a pharmacy and management graduate, I would have run away to the Himalaya’s, in the lap of nature and enjoyed all my life without the temptations to visit a mall ( even though, It is really hard for me to resist the thought of just enjoying the lights and fanfare at a mall here in Delhi, even at 2109 night). Do not presume me to be a saint, I don’t shed a hint of it from anywhere. Zara, Mango, AND, Tommy, Levis, Diesel, S.Oliver bla bla bla, give me your credit card, and I can shop for all and more.

And why do I mention this here? Is this irrelevant? Yes, it could be. This thought that I am going to write now, it pulls me away from what I am to what i should be. yes, it pulls me that there are more important things in life such as life than showing off brands, luxury etc. Things which may make you want more of it just because your best friend might have it. Things that are not your needs, but just your wants. As in, you need a watch to know the time, but you may want a Rado for the same. Things that may steal your happiness of a beautiful day, things that may ruin relations. Yes, there are things that a master card can buy, but there is more to life. There is a life, composed of feelings, emotions, experiences, enrichment and more, that I may still not know.

So, if you are reading this, there is going to be a bit of emotional stuff coming down the lines. You can either stop reading it here, if you are in a good mood or proceed further after promising me you won’t be cursing me for anyway writing this.

*Looks like you have decided already! Gee , Flashing my rabbit teeth*

Every now and then when I am reading about one of the various stuffs related to my work, I keep on stumbling upon the thing called as clinical trials. Well, not just stumble, it forms such a major part of my work. Clinical trials are the trials which are performed on human as an experiment to test the effectiveness of a new molecule researched by various pharmaceutical companies before it could be launched in the market. It is a long procedure which not only involves big money and time, but also people. People like you and me. People like your son or daughter or a neighbour.

Just for reference, here is a link, ClinicalTrials.gov, The official US website, which maintains a record of the various clinical trials being conducted by pharmaceutical giants or even universities or medical centres/institutes. The procedure to obtain a permission to conduct a clinical trials does not come without its fare share of documents proofs and other scientific papers which help conduce that the trial is a hope and not just a hit and trial method to test the molecules (which may later turn into medicines) to be tested upon living humans. If you look at the site just type the name of any disease here in the condition column and you will be surprised with the result. You would see how many molecules you have not heard of are being progressed from one clinical phase to another for that one disease. And how many people are really waiting for that molecule to turn into a medicine. Soon after being tested on 50 people to 400 people to being surveyed in the market for adverse events even after its launch on in-numerous people! safe and effective, affordable and available. (A blockbuster to the company is what the compnay would hope for it to be: A molecule which would convert into sales of more than a Billion in one year!)

That is the thought here which perturbs me. Not of conducting the trial, But the Blinding. The Blinding of the drug that will be administered in the trial. The enrollment number which we see in those clinical trials is just a number to us. But think of it, A cancer patient, hopeful of life, coming down for a trial. Hopeful that this new molecule will be his angel. Which will make him/her live longer and survive to see the happy faces of people he or she loves. Now look at the number again. Enrollment number: 459. 459 people. 459 lives. 459 people who hope to live. 459 families. 1000’s of relatives. Million hopes. And then , when you could have actually took some medication at all, which might have helped you live why not even if just one day more, when you could have took that medicine, you leave everything to come here and join a clinical trial hoping that this new research molecule will give you life. You end up being blinded to a placebo. Blinded. Do you know what that means? Yes, it means all the 459 people in the trial have been randomly allocated medications which they know nothing of so that there is no bias in the results, so that no patient gives a psychologically impacted response of feeling better or worse just because he or she knows that he or she is being administered a medicine or a placebo. Imagine, taking a placebo, which has nothing that will treat you religiously (or not) but persisting to the dosage regimen, obeying the rules of the medication, even if inconvenient. Why? Because they hope it will treat them. Alas! when would they ever know they wasted their those precious days consuming a placebo? What about the others? Being administered a molecule in the form of a drug that may just ending up causing serious and severe adverse events, making life worse for now or forever?

Ruthless. Pains me. When i happen to read a blog or a story or just anything that reflects the pain of a family who lost someone to such fatal diseases. It pains. I can’t decide upon if this is alright to do. To test a molecule on people and let them die. Why? Because they say that it would still save some lives later if it is found to be successful. Oh yes, it just might. But what about right now? What about those whom we kill in front of us. Those faces, those smiles, those hopes, those moments. Can we find a solution that is lesser painful. Can we? Is there a solution to the pain arisen by those who are trying to find a solution to some other kind of pain? Ethics. I have heard they are still confused about. they all are like I am, like you are, like you may be.

And as I stop here, I still have not figured out, If these are Ethics for Death or Life? I will continue working on CI from Monday morning onwards again, probably forgetting this post when I open clinicaltrialsregister.eu, CT.gov or any other Japanese website next time. But yes, of all these ethics that I question right now, I don’t just seek an answer, In fact I wish that we be happy with the things we are blessed with in our life. And trust me, They are not wrong, when they say, the best things in life come for free. Think of life, spend a minute and more of it with each passing day. Appreciate life. Know what people have to go through just for this simple thought of being alive. You don’t need a big house, a big car, fashionable clothes if you cant afford them, you need your two eyes to see, two ears to hear, A nose to smell, a working sensory system to feel the sensation of love and life; and a mouth to talk. That is life.

Read this if you get some time someday: http://www.chicagonow.com/mary-tyler-mom/donnas-cancer-story-2/

Though, It has nothing to do with the post, but it is a story that kept me awake all night to read this and left me in tears when I finished reading.

Happy Living!

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