Here we go again, corruption of the worst kind within the pharmaceutical industry. This week GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has been fined again, this time over the deaths of 14 babies during illegal drug trials in Argentina. Link.
In 1996 another Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer was involved in the killing of 11 Nigerian babies and the injuring of numerous others, in an illegal drug trial of their experimental anti-meningitis drug Trovan. Link.
It amazes me that in 2012 testing drugs on babies, whether illegal or not, is still allowed to go on.
In fact, the EMA actually permit it, allowing Lundbeck and other corrupt pharma companies to test adult drugs on children. Quote from their e-mail to me …”Marketing-authorisation applications for new medicinal products not authorised in the EU before 26 July 2008 have to include the results of studies conducted in the paediatric population. There are exceptions and paediatric trials are not needed if the medicine is not to be used in children under any circumstances or if the disease or condition for which the medicine is to be used for only occurs in adults. These exceptions do not apply to SSRI antidepressant medicines and Paediatric Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is one area where paediatric pharmaceutical research can improve. Therefore it is important that clinical trials are carried out in this group to clearly establish the risks and the benefits of these medicines in children”. Would they allow tesing on their own children I wonder? Or would they, like Dr. Madsen (the Lundbeck director and medical expert) decline to answer that one?
Last week the Madhya Pradesh government fined 12 doctors Rs 5,000 (€72), for illegally conducting drug trials on mentally challenged patients and children. Again the most vulnerable people in society are being used and abused by corporations with plenty of money to buy corrupt doctors. The pharmaceutical companies who pay for these trials should be held accountable, along with the doctors. No mention of which company or companies paid for the trial, whether this is common practice and has the results of previous trials been relied upon for the licencing of other medication. Again, who’s regulating the regulators?
Human rights groups have previously raised concerns that India is turning into a hot spot for drug trials, where hospital patients are being used as guinea pigs for the world’s pharmaceutical companies, sometimes without consent. Link. In 2002, a 22 year old, Dharmesh Vasava, died while undergoing a drug trial for Citalopram. Despite this, 7 years later, this medication went on to kill my 22 year old son!
Sky news reported this week that low costs, weak laws and inadequate enforcement and penalties are blamed for making India an attractive destination for conducting the tests.
The whistleblower in this case Dr Anand Rai (who was suspended from his job following his complaint) said “Drug trials were performed on patients who had gone to the hospitals for routine treatment. It’s a criminal offence to put them under drug trials without consent.”
The State government expressed its inability to conduct any detailed investigation involving the patient/subjects under trials, citing legal provisions that protect the identity of trial subjects.