Press Statement: Survivors Protest Unethical Drug Trials

Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha
Children Against Dow Carbide
Bhopal Group for Information and Action

Press Statement – February 24, 2011

Survivors of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal today marched to the Bhopal Memorial Hospital & Research Centre (BMHRC) demanding suspension of senior consultants involved with unethical drug trials on gas victims and compensation for those on whom drug trials have been conducted. Decrying preferential treatment of non gas victims at BMHRC they opposed attempts by the state government to take control of the hospital and demanded taking over of the administration of the hospital by the central government.

The organizations leading the march stated that senior consultants of BMHRC broke the law in 2004 by carrying out Phase III drug trials because such trials were illegal prior to 2005. They condemned the state government for not disclosing the findings of the investigation on these trials and demanded that the central government must act against the consultants who were interfering with the medical records of the trials.

The marchers included Mrs. Laxmi Bai on whose husband, late Shankarlal, Dr. S K Trivedi tested a drug named Ticagrelor without his knowledge or consent. The drug manufactured by multinational pharmaceutical company Astra Zeneca is still not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the regulatory agency in USA. Another gas victim Mr. Ramadhar Shrivastav who was given an unnamed medicine by Dr. Trivedi for a year and half as part of a drug trial was also in the march.

The marchers included Amir, son of Mr Rayees, a gas victim with kidney disease who died in June 2010 because he was denied dialysis facility at BMHRC. Mrs Phullo Bai from a below poverty line family whose husband Ram Singh died at age 50 in March, 2009 because of the same reason was also part of the march.
Also marching was Sameena (30) who was diagnosed with chronic renal failure two and half years back. Coming from a family that is below poverty line Sameena can not afford to pay for Dialysis that she needs on a regular basis to stay alive. Sameena is registered with BMHRC and is entitled to free medical care but despite repeated attempts has still not been able to receive facilities for Dialysis. Tanveer (45) who is also being denied dialysis facility at BMHRC was also part of the march.

According to the organizations leading the march, gas victims are routinely denied Dialysis and investigation facilities at BMHRC. As per the records of the hospital last year while 3000 non gas victims were given Dialysis facility only 900 gas victims were able to get it. The organizations pointed out that last year the in charge of the Dialysis Unit Dr. Mahendra Atlani has earned Rs. 3 lakh 64 thousand from non gas victims.
The organizations expressed concern over current attempts by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) to hand over the administration of BMHRC to an autonomous body created with the primary involvement of the State government. They said that the state government’s failure to run the hospitals meant for gas victims has been well documented in the seven reports of the Monitoring Committee set up by the Supreme Court. The reports of the Monitoring Committee highlighted terrible inadequacies in terms of lack of specialists and doctors, absence of treatment protocols, unavailability of quality medicines, inadequacy of patient recording system and unhygienic and unsanitary conditions. The organizations pointed out that the Supreme Court directed the DAE on 19 July 2010 to take over the running of the BMHRC and its current attempts to pass on the responsibility amounts to contempt of the Court’s order.

Rashida Bi, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh
, +91 94256 88215

Nawab Khan, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, +91 93027 92493

Balkrishna Namdeo, Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha, 
+91 98263 45423

Satinath Sarangi, Rachna Dhingra, Bhopal Group for Information and Action
, +91 98261 67369

Safreen Khan, Children Against Dow Carbide
, +91 9303831487

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