In truth, we have no way of knowing, because nobody is testing the testers.
It should be the function of drug regulators, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the USA's drugs watchdog. But a recent survey discovered that the FDA has inspected just 1 per cent of medical trials that were carried out between the years 2000 and 2005.
There's no registry of clinical trials, and the FDA is too under-resourced to carry out any further checking. Arthur Caplan, chairman of the department of medical ethics at the University of Pennsylvania, commented: "In many ways, rats and mice get greater protection as research subjects than do humans."
(Source: New York Times, 1 October 2007).