The Supreme Court on Thursday said uncontrolled clinical trial of drugs on humans by multinational companies was creating “havoc” in the country and slammed the Centre for failing to stop the “rackets” which has caused deaths.
Observing that the Government has slipped into “deep slumber” in addressing this “menace”, the court ordered that all drug trials will be done under the supervision of the Union Health Secretary.
The apex court said the government has failed to put in place proper mechanisms to stop “rackets” of multinational companies, which are conducting illegal clinical trials, and asked it handle the problem on an urgent basis.
“You have to protect health of citizens of the country. It is your obligation. Deaths must be arrested and illegal trials must be stayed,” the bench comprising R.M. Lodha and A.R. Dave said.
“You have slipped into deep slumber. It pains us that children of the country are being uses as guinea pigs by the companies. You do not have even respect of the Parliamentary Committee which has said that the companies are running racket and you are showing just draft rules,” the bench said when the Additional Solicitor General Siddhath Luthra contended that Centre is considering to frame rules.
It pilloried the government after it was contended that various committees have been set up to look into the issue and that it will come back to the court after getting suggestions from them.
“You can get back to the court but what about those people who are losing their lives in such clinical trials. People who lost their lives can’t get their lives back,” the bench observed.
“It is very easy to form a committee or a commission. It is done just to divert people’s attention on the issue. It is the best way to divert attention on important issues,” the bench said.
“Give us performance of even one committee during the last 21 months. We gave you many opportunities,” it said adding, “Your officials are not working in a manner they should work. If there is foolproof mechanism then we would not have interfered in the matter”.