Body Hunters by Sonia Shah
Body Hunters by Sonia Shah

Body Hunters

How the Drug Industry Tests Its Products On the World's Poorest Patients

by Sonia Shah

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An eye-opening look at Big Pharma's unethical and exploitative drug trials in the global South.

"Medical research imposes burdens. But generally speaking, we don't like to know it….If the history of human experimentation tells us anything, from the bloody vivisections of the first millennium to the Tuskegee Syphilis Study, it is that such burdens made secret will fall heaviest on the poorest and most powerless among us."—from The Body Hunters

This groundbreaking book reveals the unethical drug-testing practices of the multinational pharmaceutical industry. In its quest to develop lucrative new drugs for the world's rich, the industry has turned away from the health needs of the world's poor. And yet, over the past decade, Big Pharma has quietly exported its clinical research business to the global South, where ethical oversight is minimal, and sick, poor, and desperate patients are abundant.

In The Body Hunters, investigative journalist Sonia Shah shows how the pharmaceutical industry is using testing procedures in the global South that would cause scandals in the developed world. In India, dozens of patients in drug trials have perished suffering deadly side effects known to the FDA; in Zambia, AIDS babies in clinical trials have been administered placebos.

The Body Hunters is based on several years of original research and reporting from Africa and Asia, and describes dozens of trials, as well as the checkered history of Western medical science in poor countries.