By Nimisha Jaiswal and Ishika Chawia Delhi
“ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) is party to the agenda of a foreign NGO to promote the interests of the manufacturing brand. This brings the ethics of ICMR into question,” said Brinda Karat, Rajya Sabha MP and CPM leader.
“We demand that the Union health ministry take strong action against ICMR, Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) and the ethics committees for the institutional dereliction of duty,” she added. She was speaking at a press conference in Delhi called by Jan Swasthya Abhiyan, Sama-Resource Group for Women and Health and Human Rights Law Network among others.
Earlier, the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine trials conducted by American NGO PATH in collaboration with ICMR were suspended by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare after opposition from human rights, child rights and women’s health groups. An Enquiry Committee comprising three members was instituted on April 15 2010, to look into the alleged irregularities in the conduct of trials.
While the committee approved the project’s protocols despite finding serious ethical violations, the other three expert members who were consulted by the committee brought forward important questions pertaining to the ethics of the trials. However, these questions and resulting findings were overlooked in the final report.