Hyderabad: Shockingly, both the state and Central governments had been caught napping even as the brokers employed by reputed pharmaceuticals companies made hay procuring hapless victims for clinical trials.
The racket has been going on for the last six months much to the ignorance of the state and Central officials.
Amazingly even after the authorities were awakened from their deep slumber by the media reports, so far no culprit has been either arrested or reprimanded, except the poor brokers who confessed to have undertaken the task for a song.
Leave alone the rounding up of those implicated with the ‘trials,’ the pharmaceutical company which was behind the scene and admitted that the said ‘trials’ were held, has not been named so far either by the police or the Minister concerned.
All that the administration has done is to book a case under Section 336, for endangering lives, and Section 420 for cheating the poor victims from Piduguralla in Guntur district.
On the other hand, the police were reportedly shielding the pharmaceutical company which dared to hire vulnerable sections and treat them as guinea pigs.
Even the formal inquiry into the issue is seen as being ordered by Health Minister DL Ravindra Reddy, a man who holds an MBBS degree, to probably appease the State Human Rights Commission which took suo motu cognizance of the media reports and issued a notice.
The SHRC had sought a comprehensive report after being satisfied that there is a prima facie case of human rights being violated.
The victims, mostly working in the granite quarries as labourers succumbed to the ‘modus operandi’ devised by the pharmaceutical company’s top brass, who were allegedly hand in gloves with the multi-national corporations. The company is said to have been well aware of the abject poverty under which scores from helpless rural population in India reel, and who would be the best target for their experiments.
Another sickening aspect is the absence of any specific norm or Legislation to prosecute Labs or agencies who transgressed time and again. Victimizing the poor, under the pretext of global clinical trials for testing their new drugs, is seen to be make business sense.
These companies would once more target the poor, and sell the same drugs as part of their market penetration bid, once the tests yield positive results.
Despite the present incident being so sickening, the Centre, which is expected to keep such events under check, had remained a silent spectator so far.
And the conspiracy to make the poor scapegoats goes unchecked as there were no laws to curtail their activities.
According to sources, a Central Drug Authority Bill is being finalised to enact laws for tightening the existing rules on clinical trials and introduce a Central Licensing Mechanism to regulate such trials.
With the abundant growth of domestic market and the country emerging as a hub for clinical research, sources said there is need to introduce a firm law to monitor trial activities.
It is said that monthly, nearly 30 companies approach the drug controllers for performing experiments for testing the safety and efficacy of their new drugs.
Ironically there is no accountability if an issue arises, such as the Pidiguralla one, as there is no uniform mechanism for enforcement of drug laws for approval of drugs in all the states.(INN)