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Testing medicinal drugs


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New drugs
These are constantly being developed and have to go through lots of testing procedures before they can be given to the general public
Drug testing
This consists of three main stages
Step 1
This is where the drug is tested on human cells and tissue in a lab
Step 2
This is where the drug is tested on live animals - it also allows a correct dosage to be worked out and the toxicity of the drug recorded. Some people think this is cruel but others think it's better than testing the drug straight on humans
UK laws
Step 2 must be tested on 2 different live mamals
Step 3
The drug goes into a clinical trial with human volunteers - this allows side effects to be shown and helps the optimum dose to be worked out
Fair drug trialing
This is where half the patients are given a placebo (substance that looks like the drug but does nothing) so that the trials are fair, sometimes the doctor doesn't even know who has the placebo and who doesn't.
Thalidomide
This was a drug developed in the 1950s that was meant to be a sleeping drug that went wrong. It wasn't tested on pregnant women but stopped morning sickness so was taken for that reason and lead to problems with the child's limb development. The drug was banned and more rigorous testing procedures were introduces, it is now being tested for the treatment of leprosy and other diseases