Bhopal's Shame: BMHRC doctors conducted drug trials on gas victims, patients died

The doctors at the Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre unlawfully conducted drug trials on gas victims without their knowledge and this resulted in deaths of as many as 10 patients.

This horrific news has stunned citizens. Though drug trials were banned, the NGOs fighting for gas victims have presented documents accessed through RTI that cardiologist Dr Skand Trivedi, Dr Subodh Varshney and Dr HK Pandey were involved in this unethical practice that should have stopped in 2008.

The wife of Nasir Khan, who died recently, said that her family was not aware that Khan was subjected to the illegal drug trial and tested for results of Clopidrogel drug. The role of BMHRC administration has also come under scanner after the revelation that trials of the medicines Televancian, Fondaparinux and Tigecycline were held on patients.

Gas victims' groups allege that the consultants at the hospital made Rs 10 million or Rs 1 crore which they obtained from pharmaceutical companies in lieu of these drug testings. The Institutional Review Board secretary is the wife of Dr Skand Trivedi and she gave permission to trials though the Drug Controller General of India (DGCI) was aware of just one drug trial in the hospital. The NGOs want criminal charges to be pressed and case registered against these doctors.

The BMHRC was established to provide free treatment to patients and sufferers of the horrific gas tragedy. In 1984 leakage of deadly MIC gas from US company Union Carbide's Bhopal plant had resulted in over 25,000 deaths and other ailments to nearly half-a-million residents of the City.

Ironically the victims were treated as guinea pigs and drug trials conducted on them at the behest of international pharma companies who generally don't get permissions to hold trials with such ease in other countries.

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