>I graduated in pharmacology, we were told by our prof back in the day that aspirin would never be approved if it was a new drug discovered today.
That is true and also a huge problem. Any new drug that kills all rats or dogs etc. will see the research project terminated pretty quickly. Normally. Yet we know that things like onions are healthy for humans and deadly to dogs. Same with chocolate and a dozen other common foodstuff. And there is no easy way around this while many realise the lab books could be full of terminated projects that could have been beneficial to humans.
Certain companies with flexible moral standards have seen a way around this: testing in slums. A front is set up, people are paid and results recorded. If things go south the front is burned and no connections can be found between the company and the illegal tests. If on the other hand a success is found the company will have to falsify years of lab animal testing since they already know it works on humans but kills animals. And again the front has to be burned to avoid the whole thing being uncovered.
The whole patent cliff issue appears to make more companies willing to break the law in order to find the next great blockbuster drug. Only a few have been caught and tried but there has been remarkably little about it outside specialised news channels.