'Illegal drug trials' on kids: Notice sent to Health Ministry

Drug trial

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Thursday issued a notice to the Union Health Ministry after receiving information that three government hospitals committed illegal drug trials on nearly 3,500 children in the past five years.

According to NHRC, a notice was sent to the Secretary of Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare alleging that Safdarjung, Lok Nayak (previously Lok Nayak Jai Prakash) and Kalawati Saran Children hospitals had conducted illegal drug trials on 3,479 children during the past five years.

"Of these, 2,056 children were allegedly subjected to drug trials without the consent of the patient at Safdarjung Hospital. Another 1,023 patients were subjected to the same in Kalawati Saran Children Hospital and 400 in LNJP," NHRC spokesperson Jaimini Srivastava said.

The notice was sent after R H Bansal, Director of Human Rights Observer, approached NHRC with a petition giving the information.

"I had filed an RTI last year in October and was provided with this data. The illegal drug trials in Safdarjung Hospital were done in the paediatric department. The other two hospitals had not divulged, which disciplines exactly had conducted these trials without the approval of the patients or their parents," Bansal told Newsline.

According to law, conducting a drug trial on a child without the approval of patient's parents is an illegal and punishable act.

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