Mauritius: Open for Business (Ethically, of Course)
Research in developing countries always raises interesting issues, and often serious worries. But then, it’s often also true that research dollars are a crucial financial boost for an impoverished nation. Keep that in mind as you read the African Press Agency’s report that “Mauritius gov’t gives its approval to clinical tests of new medical drugs” [subscription/payment required]
A law dealing with clinical tests and research of new pharmaceutical products in Mauritius has just been finalized by the medical authorities which will give the right to foreign pharmaceutical companies to test their drugs in Mauritius….
According to informed sources at the Ministry of Health in Port Louis, a number of foreign pharmaceutical companies have already indicated their willingness to set up laboratories in the island but have been waiting with impatience for a legal framework from the government.
Yes, the tiny island nation of Mauritius is open for business.
Naturally, ethics is part of the equation. It’s not clear, yet, whether that means pre-approval of clinical trials, or not:
For his part, Dr Neerunjun Gopee, the Director of Health Services in Mauritius indicated that apart from the law, the government will set up a Clinical Research Council which will have the responsibility to issue licenses to operators. Also an Ethics Committee will be constituted to hear complaints from those employed in this sector.
Hmm. Not much mention of protecting research subjects. Though the story does note, in an alarmingly candid turn of phrase, that “Neerunjun further indicated that pharmaceutical companies will have to hold an insurance policy in order to compensate potential victims.”