Deadly Clinical Research on Cervical Cancer: A Special Investigation Report from CNN IBN
May 9th, 2010, Bangalore
A Special Investigation Report aired by CNN IBN Aired today has clearly pointed out the exploitation of Poor Rural Indians for clinical research. India as a nation has been jolted by several Biomedical & drug scams but a scam of this scale has clearly questioned the authority of MCI, ICMR & Drug Controller General of India.
The story starts with Khamam, A small Village in Andhra Pradesh, Little known to Indians but a Hot bed of Clinical Research on Cervical cancer. This Clinical Research is being conducted under the aegis of Merck & GSK ( as evident from the report) and has the permission of ICMR as well. In past 2 Years a total of 14,019 Girls of the age group of 15-19 have been vaccinated for HPV, the deadly virus attributed for the the cause of Cervical cancer.
Back in 2008, Merck & GSK launched this product, which was heavily endorsed by celebrities such as Konkana Sen Sharma. One Vaccine Kit of HPV costs Rs 9,000/- and this obviously meant a good business for the Pharma Giants, Dealers and retailers. No one objected then but now the death of 4 Girls has questioned the very basis of this trial.
While Volunteers from PATH (NGO involved in this trial) have been claiming to poor villagers that this drug will prevent their daughters from Cervical cancer till the age of 45, This fact was readily denied by Dr Naveen A rao from Merck who says
"To Know whether it will protect till the age of 30, you will have to live till that age"
- Dominant strains of HPV is still unknown
- This vaccine doesnt claim to be 100% efective against Cervical Cancer
- It is active against HPV 16 & 18 which cause only 70% of Cervical cancer.
That clearly means that this vaccine must be withdrawn.
Another needle of suspicion arises that shortly after the launch of clinical trial of this vaccine in USA, 49 Deaths were reported and it was immediately stopped there. So doesnt that mean that Merck is using Our Tiny Tots as guinea pigs?
It has also been pointed out that its a rule under ICMR that No new drug can be tried on a Child unless it is tested to be safe on adults. But are the authorities from ICMR Listening?
Another question can be askd to DCGI as to how it allowed the misuse of Government of India Logo which is trusted by the rural Indians for this trial.
When questions were asked about the death of these 4 girls, authorities pointed out suicide and lack of nutrition. Dr CM Gulati of MIMS fame asks "Cant suicidal tendency be a symptom of these drugs?"
The reason being pointed out for increased number of Clinical Trials is
- Fraction of Costs (around 1/5 of costs compared to abroad)
- Lack of Awareness among Rural & Urban Population
- Lack of rules to control & regulate these Trials.
The question we are asking to today is why not we have a FDA standard body, a Central Surveillance Board which could control & Regulate these kind of Trials. We are sure government is too busy fulfilling the wishes of its alliance partners.
Hence we request each one of you, Please go out and inform every Indian that next they could be a target of these deadly clinical research. Next time your sister, Mother or daughter goes to the nearby clinic be sure she is not being treated as a guinea pig for this vaccine.
Create awareness, save your loved ones!!
Video & Facts: Courtsey CNN IBN | We are thankful to the reporters of CNN IBN who have carried out this Unbiased investigation.