[ExI] thiel goes south
spike66 at att.net
Fri Sep 1 14:38:31 UTC 2017
Big news story today about one of Peter Thiel's ventures.
He wanted to test a vaccine for herpes, but in the USA, any such drug test
costs billions to control and jump through all the government hoops. This
means that any treatment which cannot make back that initial investment can
never be approved by the FDA. So the protections put in place by the US
government prevent new therapies and drugs.
Since many countries do not have anything analogous to the US FDA, they can
just use the drugs developed and approved by the US. The staggering expense
of FDA approval prevents new medications all over the world.
Thiel was being himself: he went to Mexico and Australia where they don't
worry too much about these kinds of things and tested the vaccines without
all the costly control and oversight required by the FDA.
The big deal is that they used test subjects in the Caribbean in St. Kitts,
including (drum roll) American citizens. ("GASP!" they gasped.) Thiel's
detractors are saying this is unethical (What is the unethical part? (Going
around the American FDA or experimenting on actual (gasp!) Americans?
(Would it be an ethical experiment had it disallowed US citizens?)))
Thiel's argument: the volunteers who took the vaccines already had herpes
and did not have access to treatment. So the worst that could happen is
What happens if Thiel discovers this vaccine works, but declines to do FDA
testing? Then do we have a drug which can be used overseas but is illegal
in the USA? Would it then be kinda like cocaine except that it actually
prevents disease instead of getting the user stoned? Imagine if other
investors recognize that there are markets for drugs outside the USA and
that the approval process here has gone from difficult to absurd. Then they
follow suit and create new classes of drugs and therapies using populations
willing to take chance.
Ethics hipsters among us, do offer your insights please.
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