Medical scandal: fatal drug tests on defenseless psychiatric patients

Medical scandal: fatal drug tests on defenseless psychiatric patients

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Switzerland: Medicines tested on patients in psychiatric clinic
In a psychiatric clinic in Switzerland, unauthorized drugs were tested on patients in the late 1950s. Several people collapsed during the tests. The Swiss media also speak of a fatality.

Unapproved drugs tested on patients
"Participants wanted for a drug study" or "Make good money as a test person" - you can read such and similar calls again and again in advertisements on the Internet. Mostly it is pharmaceutical companies or universities that need healthy or sick test subjects for their research. In Germany alone, around 1,200 such studies are carried out each year, involving a total of around 10,000 subjects. But by no means all drug tests are or were carried out with voluntary participants. According to media reports, unauthorized drugs were tested on patients in the psychiatric clinic in Herisau, Switzerland (canton Appenzell Ausserrhoden) at the end of the 1950s.

Patient died on trial
Even if the facts are a little poor at the moment, it is clear that in the past, drugs were administered in the Herisau Psychiatric Clinic that were officially not yet available. According to a report by the news program "Schweiz aktuell", the drug "G 22355" was used in at least 18 patients in 1957. "G 22355" was intended for patients with depression. However, this drug was only launched in 1958 by the pharmaceutical company Geigy (today's Novartis). According to the information, it is approved today under the name Tofranil. The tests had fatal consequences in some cases: According to the news program, patients had sweating or fainted in some cases. A patient even died during an attempt.

"A violation of basic human rights"
Cantonal Councilor Jens Weber was horrified by the drug trials: “It is terrifying that something like this has been done. And reprehensible because attempts have been made on people. They did not give their consent and that is a violation of fundamental human rights. "Historian Marietta Meier said:" The experiments were of interest to the pharmaceutical industry, which wanted to bring new products onto the market, but also to the doctors and clinics, which benefited from free preparations . "

Legal requirements were different at the time
Markus Schmidlin, director of today's Appenzell Ausserrhoden Psychiatric Center, defended the use of the test drug. At that time there was only the alternative with opium or the straitjacket for immobilizing a patient. “We don't know whether the person died in connection with the tests. It is documented and that speaks for the investigator that he did not cover it up. ”In addition, administration to patients had previously been the usual method of introducing new drugs. “At that time, the legal requirements were completely different. The compliance with safety standards by means of controlled studies was completely unknown. "The Appenzell Ausserrhoden district president Matthias Weishaupt said:" Patients have the right to know what happened back then without their knowledge. And a society also has to look and open the dark pages of psychiatric history. ”

Deadly human trials by Western companies
Drug tests have been a topic of public interest in recent months, mainly due to the incidents in France. There, a volunteer suffered brain death after taking an experimental drug. According to the information, dogs had previously died of the active ingredient. In recent years, deaths from drug tests have also been reported from countries such as India and Nigeria. In Germany, the report about western drug tests on GDR citizens caused a sensation. At that time, partially fatal human experiments were reported. Western pharmaceutical companies have ordered more than 600 drug studies in over 50 GDR clinics. Such tests have been carried out on sick people, premature babies and alcoholics, among others, and some have been fatal. (ad)

Author and source information

Video: Hypochondriacs: When Health Anxiety Becomes Unhealthy Mental Health Documentary. Only Human (July 2022).


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