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India's clinical trial

Submitted by Karthik on 8 September, 2012 - 01:43

ET and a number of other papers are making full use of a report submitted in parliament yesterday which catalogues the number of deaths registered during clinical trials in India.

The value of life is only Rs 2.2 lakh in India if the average compensation paid for deaths during clinical trials of drugs is any yardstick.

And the value is only getting cheaper going by the compensation amount paid in 2011 as against average compensation of Rs 3.2 lakh for clinincal trial-related deaths paid in 2010, according to an analysis of data provided in Parliament today by the Union Health Ministry.

Similar figures also featured prominently in an exposé in the US in March. Wired, on the other hand, provided excellent insight into the issue way back in 2006, soon after India was opened up for clinical trials by foreign Pharma.

Last year, the government took a more controversial step, amending a long-standing law that limited the kind of trials that foreign pharmaceutical companies could conduct. That law allowed companies to test drugs on Indian patients only after the drugs had been proven safe in trials conducted in the country of origin. In January, the government threw out that constraint. India, the brilliant hub of outsourced labor, was positioning itself in a newly lucrative role: guinea pig to the world.

The last few months has also seen stuff like this come out apparently thanks to a silver lining to the whole fiasco, Jyothi Mirdha.