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Jul 16, 2012 at 02:22pm IST

SC pulls up MP government for drug trials on humans

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Madhya Pradesh government on drug trials and came down heavily on the Shivraj Singh Chouhan administration for treating people as guinea pigs even as people are dying due to illegal trials. Terming it "most unfortunate', the apex court criticised the state government for the inadequate measures taken to curb the problem.

The Madhya Pradesh government, responding to the SC's censure, said that drug trial deaths were happening because of certain gaps in central laws.

Over 2,000 people have died in drug trials, according to the Drug Controller General of India.

CNN-IBN had accessed documents last year that showed that the Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre had been carrying out clinical trials on humans. The documents showed that at least 80 per cent of the patients on whom trials were conducted, were victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy.

What was suspected and had been alleged was confirmed. The multi-specialty hospital set up for gas victims conducted unethical drug trials on 279 patients of whom 215 were gas victims. The figures came from a letter written by the Hospital's director, Brigadier KK Maudar to the Deputy Drug Controller of India, Dr R Ramakrishna on February 22, 2011.

The Indian Council for Medical Research in its ethical guidelines for biomedical research on human participants has categorically said that adequate justification is required for involvement of those with reduced autonomy. In Bhopal, no such justification was offered. In fact, the hospital first denied that the drug trials were conducted on gas victims.

CNN-IBN had first reported about the unethical drug trials in June 2010 following which an enquiry was constituted. At that time, the hospital had denied conducting any of those trials on gas victims.