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Alumna to discuss ethics of human drug testing

Suzanne "Sukey" Richmond, a 1995 graduate of Connecticut College, worked in the pharmaceutical industry for a decade, in mergers and acquisitions as well as international industrial engineering. What she learned then -and in her graduate and post-graduate studies in bioethics and health policy management - brings her back to campus to deliver a lectured entitled "$500 to Attend This Lecture on Pharmaceutical Companies ... If You Qualify." "The focus is really on human subject trial testing, for which healthy participants get paid," explained Richmond, now a doctoral candidate at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

"There is a whole sub-culture of individuals who make a living going from trial to trial, literally each time risking their health and sometimes their lives. Unfortunately in the U.S., this sub-culture draws a significant number of people of color and also people who fall within the poverty level. Though their participation is legal and trial overseers receive their informed consent to participate, we need to question if social welfare services are so insufficient that these vulnerable populations are willing to resort to continuous trial testing - to become literal human guinea pigs. "It is so exciting to be a part of a newly emerging field that draws from all disciplines to analyze and evaluate the actions of medical and medical-related industries," she continued.

Professor of Economics Maria Cruz-Saco said, "Sukey has extensive experience in the operations of the pharmaceutical industry at a global level, including sales practices and research and development that includes the testing of drugs. Her talk will address the complex scientific, medical, financial and ethical issues that pharmaceutical innovation entails and will be particularly relevant for students interested in careers in the pharmaceutical industry, health and public policy as well as prospective law students." The lecture is co-sponsored by the College's Toor Cummings Center for International Studies and the Liberal Arts (CISLA)and the Department of Economics. Richmond will speak at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 7 in Room 203 of the Blaustein Humanities Center, with a reception following. It is free and open to the public.

April 6, 2011