Dear Reverend Barber:
There are many abominable practices in our country but of singular import is the use of foster children in medical research.
The latest figure available from the Department of Health and Human Services indicates there were more than 400,500 minors available for pharmaceutical/medical test product studies in 2011.
NIH reports that there are 13,690 children's trials here and in other countries either completed, in progress or terminated. Many of the U.S. minors who are selected for research are under state protection but the government does not segregate this data.
Medicaid insures foster and poverty-designated children. The CDC confirmed last month that 10,000 Medicaid-covered toddlers had been placed on ADHD drugs. The Citizens Commission on Human Rights says these figures are not inclusive and state that 274,000 0-1 year olds and 370,000 toddlers are on psychotropic drug regimens .
Although not specified as such, these prescriptive practices are clinical trials and a form of medical child abuse because the psychotropic products are not FDA approved for these age groups.
For decades the National Institutes of Health and PhRMA have allowed third parties, e.g. Covance , to select children from state welfare agency rolls and situate them in clinical trials. This concept is condoned by the governing parties because most parents are not willing to subject their children to experimentation.
It is customary for drug development service companies to pay volunteers for participating in clinical trials. State welfare agencies are also reimbursed for the use of their captive children. For more on this subject and the AIDS drug research projects please refer to Harriet Washington's book: Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to the Present.
Other than financial incentives, why would states conscript previously abused children for medical research? The expressed reason is to save lives and enhance knowledge.
To appease child protection groups, the government requires Institutional Review Board approval before children may be enrolled in these exploratory enterprises. These considered safeguard measures are meaningless because foster children's civil rights are being abridged.
New York City foster children suspected of AIDS infection were the recipients of toxic drugs in the late 80s and early 90s. The public become informed of these practices in 2004 with the publication of Liam Scheff's report, " The House That Aids Built ." His allegations prompted a federal investigation and criticism of Mr. Scheff's findings on the part of The New York Times. But there is no debate that these activities occurred or that children suffered during the course of the experiments.
NYC child welfare administration officials told The Times that 90% of the children labeled H.I.V. positive were enrolled in these drug programs over a 14-year period. The number of foster children involved in these trials is unknown because the documents were either missing or incomplete. Welfare spokespeople admitted that the safety and well being of these children were not carefully monitored. Absent paper work allowed supervising pediatricians to say that they do not remember deaths or serious side effect events in the almost decade and a half endeavor.
Most of the children in the AIDS research trials were held in medical institutions as are those in current pharmaceutical evaluative studies. Incarceration ensures that the test subjects receive the under-study drug and are available for bodily fluid extractions. Blood is acquired via venipuncture for 0-18 age groups; urine by catheterization in the youngest subjects.
These procedures often require restraints. Children unable to swallow pills or who are troublesome are fitted with gastric and or nasal feeding tubes. Dr. Katherine Painter, former director of the NYC Incarnation Children's Center verified Mr. Scheff's medical child abuse complaint.
In 1998 The Times advised that federal officials were investigating psychiatric experiments conducted over a three year period by the New York State Psychiatric Institute and the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
The clinical trial study consisted of 100 mostly black and Hispanic youths, ages 6-10 who were intravenously-fed fenfluramine based on the supposition that violent or criminal behavior could be ascertained by certain brain chemicals. Fenfluramine was banned in 1997 because of its heart-damaging side effects.
With the imprimatur of the federal government, states are subjecting their wards to medical child abuse via clinical trials. Please censure these abhorrent practices.
For the children,