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The vaccine of a major Brisith pharmaceutical, GlaxoSmithKline, is being investigated for a possile link to the deaths of 14 children in Argentina. The Synflorix vaccine is supposed to fight pneumonia. GSK says the vaccine is not to blame for their deaths.

Read the article on CNN here.

While this is purely speculative, I would wager a pretty penny that Synflorix is to blame for the death of those kids. Call me a conspiracy theorist who saw The Constant Gardener one too many times, but I believe that pharmaceutical corporations use less developed countries as their guinea pigs. From their perspective human life is a commodity, not a right. A human life costs less money in Argentina than in the U.K., because they can more easily buy their way out of trouble.

It sends me into a sickened, remorseful rage: that we have so devalued human life that it becomes ok for us intentionally expose children to mortally dangerous substances. Such a thought is terrifying on its own, but to do so for the purpose of making money is wholly depressing.

What do you think? Do pharmaceuticals test potentially harmful drugs in developing nations because it’s easier to avoid a criminal or civil suit? Ethically, does the end justify the means in this case, or is it wrong to knowingly expose people (children) to harmful substances for the sake of developing a drug (and getting richer)?