Turkish ministry denies ‘guinea pig’ death claims

Turkish ministry denies ‘guinea pig’ death claims

İZMİR - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish ministry denies ‘guinea pig’ death claims

Ministry of Health announced that there are 893 clinical experiments in Turkey. The number consists of one percent of all clinical experiments in the world. Hürriyet photo

The Turkish Ministry of Health and the Turkish Medical Drug Companies Association yesterday denied claims that 893 people in Turkey lost their lives due to pharmaceutical company experimentation.

The Turkish Ministry of Health said the number corresponded to the number of clinical research projects, not the number of deaths.

“As of November 2011, there were 116, 223 clinical experiments in the world, and 87 percent of them were in the U.S., Canada and Australia. Out of this number only 893 of them were in Turkey, which is not even 1 percent,” the statement of Turkish Medical Drug Companies Association read.

Acting as drug company “guinea pigs” killed 893 people in Turkey, the UK-based daily Independent claimed Nov. 15.

A number of students from Aegean University in the western province of İzmir said they offered to participate in pharmaceutical company experiments due to economic conditions.

“Acting as a guinea pig in drug experiments is something quite well known in the Aegean University, but it is not performed overtly. You usually hear about such a thing from your friends,” said G.Y., a sociology student in the Aegean University who asked to be identified only by her initials.

Nearly 900 such studies were conducted in more than 700 clinical trials in Turkey over the past four years by renowned multi-national drug companies, according to claims, while thousands more were also allegedly experimented on by the drug giants in various countries across the globe, reported the daily Vatan.

“Despite the fact that I am living with my parents I was forced to join the experiments due to our economic conditions. You earn between 200 and 300 Turkish Liras depending on the [experiment]. Many students are forced to participate to earn money,” G.Y. said, adding that she had participated in two experiments designed to test kidney drugs.

The conducting of such experiments in exchange for money and without the approval of both an independent ethics board and the Health Ministry are banned under a regulation enacted in August.