The Supreme Court on Monday remarked that it was unfortunate that human beings were being used as guinea pigs for the alleged illegal clinical trials of drugs in the country.
During the hearing of two PILs, which alleged that illegal and unethical clinical trials are underway in many parts of the country, a Bench comprising Justice R M Lodha and Justice Anil R Dave rapped the Centre and Madhya Pradesh for not filing their replies on the two PILs, which brought to the notice of the court the large-scale illegal drug trials in the state and other parts of the country.
The Bench said: “There has to be some sense of responsibility (on the part of government). “Human beings are being treated as guinea pigs. This is unfortunate,” the Bench said and granted the Centre and the Medical Council of India (MCI) eight more weeks time to file their replies.
A group of doctors and an NGO moved the apex court by way of two PILs alleging that these illegal clinical trials are being conducted on poor persons, including juveniles, tribals and dalits. They are being used as guinea pigs for testing the drugs and vaccines produced by multi-national companies, the PILs alleged.
The petitioners sought the constitution of a committee of experts, consisting members of civil society, especially, All-India Drug Action Network, to examine the present legal provisions with regard to clinical trials both in the country and abroad, and to make recommendations to frame guidelines on the issue.