The central government was pulled up by the Supreme Court on Thursday for failing to stop illegal clinical trials of untested drugs by multinational firms.
Charging the central government with going into deep slumber over the issue, the apex court said drug trials are creating “havoc” across the country and causing the death of many citizens.
The court said the government needed to urgently introduce proper mechanisms to stop these “rackets” of multinational companies.
A two-judge bench of the court, comprising of justices RM Lodha and AR Dave said that all clinical trials will henceforth be done under the supervision of the Union Health Secretary.
“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 said, asking the government to handle the “menace” on an urgent basis.
The court also rubbished the government’s contention that various committees were look into the issue and that it would 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,” the court retorted.
“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.
The court said that the government is “shying away” from responding to its queries, while noting that the affidavit filed by the Centre was not in consonance with its earlier order.
On October 8, last year, the apex court had sought the reply of the
Centre and various state governments on the allegation that human beings were being used as guinea pigs for clinical trials by drug companies.
It had directed the Union government then to come out with details of the deaths, if any, and the side effects and compensation, if any, paid to the victims or their family members.