New Delhi: CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat has demanded action against those involved in the trial of a vaccine which allegedly used thousands of children as guiney pigs to test their new product.
Karat demanded action in the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine trials which was allegedly conducted on thousands of children belonging to the ST, SC and economically poor households in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat in 2010, so that a strong message goes out to other potential exploiters of India's poor through such irregular clinical trials.
In a letter to Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, she also urged the government to pay a compensation of Rs ten lakh to each of those who were used in the trials.
She also demanded a fine be levied by the government on PATH (Programme for Appropriate Technology in Health), the two companies and the promoter, and the Gates Foundation.
In her letter, Brinda said "it is deeply regrettable that in spite of the assurances you made on the floor of the House ...you have not taken any action whatsoever against those responsible...In the light of the report of the Standing Committee, it would be legitimate to ask is it because the health interests of poor adivasi and dalit children have little value for you that you did not act?"
She further mentioned in her letter that individuals in institutions such as the Drugs Controller General of India, Indian Council of Medical research and the National Rural Health Mission working under his Ministry have in this case been shown to have allegedly manipulated and violated rules and regulations and acted to facilitate the interests of the two foreign pharma companies.
Karat also demanded action against officials in ICMR and DCGI for permitting the project. She also demanded action against the officials who misused the NHRM logo in Andhra Pradesh and a time-bound inquiry by an impartial agency into the process of granting marketing permission to the two pharma companies.