SC frowns on unethical drug trials

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 03, 2013 12:20 hrs

New Delhi, Jan 3 (IANS) The Supreme Court Thursday frowned on the government's failure to halt unethical clinical trials by multinational drug companies on Indian patients who were used as "guinea pigs".

Referring to a May 2012 report of the parliamentary standing committee on health and family welfare, the apex court bench of Justice R.M. Lodha and Justice Anil R. Dave said that "it really pains us that illiterate people and children of India are being used as guinea pigs by the multinational drug companies".

"We want to know why the government of India is shying away from its responsibility," the court asked.

"We want you to arrest this trend (unethical clinical trials). It appears that drug controller is a misnomer. If it can't do it, who will do it," asked the judges.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation by a Madhya Pradesh-based NGO Swasthya Adhikar Manch, which alleged that clinical trials were being conducted in Madhya Pradesh without the patients being aware that they were subjects of such tests.

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