In this paper I explore the politics of trust in the clinical testing of pharmaceuticals in the US. Specifically, I analyze trust in terms of its institutional manifestations in the pharmaceutical clinical trials industry. In the process of testing new drugs, pharmaceutical companies must (1) protect their proprietary information from the clinicians who conduct their studies, and (2) find a way to ensure human subjects’ compliance to study protocols. Concern with these two critical issues leads drug companies to approach clinicians and research subjects with an attitude of mistrust and the desire to exert control over their activities. This orientation results in an institutionalization of mistrust that structures the relationships and activities required for the clinical development of new pharmaceutical products.