Go Ahead: Perform Medical Experiments on Students

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Sure, psychological and medical experiments can have adverse effects. Tim Skellett has been on "both sides--as a subject and as an experimenter." He explains at The Guardian: "When I first went to Germany as a foreign student, it was without any financial support, so being paid to take part in experiments often formed a large chunk of my income." He wasn't particularly fond of the one where he spent "10 hours with three IVs in [his] right arm and two IVs in [his] left," and the "mild diabetic symptoms" that persisted for a week weren't nice either. Still, he says:

Should such experimentation be carried out on humans? At some stage it must be, because computer and animal models are simply not enough for final testing of drugs designed for humans.

This, along with the following reasoning, is why he feels okay about even occasionally "lethal" experiments being performed largely on students:

While medical researchers often experiment on themselves too, for true results you need quite large groups of subjects. I believe that university students being the favoured group for such processes is a lot better than using villagers in Africa: the students are western consumers who benefit most from new pharmaceuticals, and it seems fair that they should be the experimental test rabbits – plus the income is often of great help to them. They are also the ones most able to complain loudly and get proper treatment and compensation should anything go wrong.

It is, however, the second-to-last sentence of his op-ed that draws the eye: "And, well, it gives them something to talk about at parties."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.