Bhopal gas victims guinea pigs for drug trials

From IBN Live

New Delhi: Bhopal gas victims allege that they are being used as guinea pigs for unethical drug trials without being informed.

An RTI has revealed that Bhopal Memorial Hospital has pocketed over Rs 1 crore by allowing pharma companies to conduct clinical trials on disaster victims.

Shankar Lal was 33 when the Bhopal Union Carbide leak of 1984 happened. Lal and his pregnant wife Laxmi survived but not their child who died at birth. The couple went on to battle several ailments. In 2007, Shankar Lal was referred to BMHRC for a heart ailment and discharged in two days with some tablets prescribed to him. When he died last year, Laxmi was asked to return the tablets with the packaging intact.

“We weren’t informed about what they were testing. They gave me some medicines and asked me to return the pack,” said Laxmi.

Unknown to him, Shankar Lal was used as a guinea pig in drug trials. An RTI application reveals that the BMHRC admitted in a note to the Drug Controller General that drug trials were conducted at the hospital. Also, BMHRC took money from pharma companies. The documents with CNN-IBN reveal that:

Rs 8.86 lakhs were taken for administering Televancin sponsored by Theravance.INC

Rs 4.22 lakhs for administering Cefaperazone, Sulbactum, Cefatzidime, Amikacin and Metranidazole

Rs 3.79 lakhs for trialling Fondaprinux, glucose insulin and Potassium infusion

Rs 1.94 lakh for Clopidogrel 75 mg once a day vs 75 mg twice a day

And another Rs 2.4 lakhs for ticegarol, Rs 8.1 lakhs for for Mometasone and almost Rs 3 lakhs (2.999583) for tigycycline

The hospital admits it took a little over Rs 1 crore over a period of five years from multi-national drug firms for phase three trials but continues to refuse information on the exact number of gas victims made guinea pigs. Activists believe several victims could have died because of these unethical trials.

“Experts are saying these trials were bordering criminality. We are demanding their suspension because these doctors are tampering with records. Also criminal charges should be framed against them,” said Satti Nath Sarangi, Activist.

Why were the drug trials conducted on gas victims without their informed consent against well-set guidelines? Why were the findings of the trial never made known to the subjects? And why wasn’t a single rupee shared with those on whom the drug trials were done? BMHRC refused to answer any of these questions. And though everything is now out in the open, there is still no word on fixing any liability.

Girl with candle Bhopal

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