Thursday, May 5, 2011

Clinical Trial Deaths And Compensation In India // Pharmalot

An investigation by India’s health ministry has found that drugmakers running clinical trials in the country have not compensated survivors of most volunteers who died during their studies. Of 671 deaths that were reported last year, there is evidence that compensation was given in just three cases, The Business Standard writes.

And so, the health ministry has asked 44 drugmakers to explain why they have not provided compensation, which is mandatory under the current law. Among those queried were Eli Lilly, Novartis, Pfizer, Bayer, Merck, Johnson & Johnson and Sanofi-Aventis. For instance, data compiled by the ministry show there were 152 deaths reported during Sanofi trials and 138 took place in Bayer trials.

A Novartis spokesperson tells the paper that its clinical trial investigator insisted any deaths were not caused by a medication, but instead due to the progression of underlying diseases. And compensation is not required in such cases. Other drugmakers offered a similar argument. Ministry officials also say that most deaths, which were attributed to cancer or cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disorders, seemed to have occurred due to the advanced stage of illness among volunteers.

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