Medical Tests on Humans

Should it be allowed?

How it works

Clinical trials

  • Individuals go in to see if they are a viable candidate for the study, find out what the treatment is for and all the possible side effects
  • Sign a waiver acknowledging they understand the risks associated
  • Volunteers get either a drug/device or a placebo and special restrictions
  • Researchers determine the safety and effectiveness of the drug by the outcome of the participants

Observational studies

  • Much like the above for signing up
  • May be given a drug or device to test but not given special instructions
  • Patient lives their daily life and checks back in from time to time as the study mandates
  • Participants are observed and outcome is recorded

The location of testing depends on who is leading the experiments. They usually take place in hospitals, clinics, doctor's offices or colleges.

Most age groups are from age 20 to 100. The studies use either healthy individuals or people suffering from a disease.


  • Side effects/feelings discussed first hand
  • No new drugs could be developed without them
  • Compares one treatment to another


  • Testing on humans can seem inhumane
  • People can be in pain or die

Regulations (State and National)

FDA Regulations

  • Good Clinical Practices (GCPs) and Human Subject Protection are two of the main regulations that the studies follow
  • GCP assures participants safety and effectiveness of the trials along with the protection of human rights

Other methods of testing

Mice and primates are two of the leading test subjects.

....and why it's not the best idea

  • The mice or monkeys may be better at pain resistance- consequently giving us false reading on a pain indicator scale.
  • The drug would then be passed into human hands and harm the people who take the drug.
  • They aren't 100% genetically identical to us. Something that works for them may not for us

I'm for it because...

It's more humane.

  • The animals used don't consent to being used as test subjects, but we do.
  • Animals used for the studies are always put down after the necessary data is collected.

It works better.

  • We get a first hand feel at how the treatment is actually affecting the individual
  • We can find out how much pain the person is in
  • We can ask the patient if they are feeling any different