As many as 49 children have died during clinical trials of new medicines in the premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi during the last two-and-a-half years.
A total of 4,142 children, of whom 2,728 were under the age of one year, enrolled for the clinical trials of new drugs and therapies by the Department of Pediatrics since January one, 2006.
Replying to a Right to Information application filed by an NGO, the institution said a total of 42 clinical trials of various medicines, of which top five medicines were foreign-made, were conducted during the given period.
In its reply to the Uday Foundation for Congenital Defects and Rare Blood Groups, the AIIMS said, "a total of 49 deaths corresponding to 1.18 per cent mortality among the enrolled patients were recorded during the studies".
Rahul Verma from Uday Foundation said, "As our organisation is working for the welfare of children facing medical challenges, we used to hear or read that several studies are being conducted on human babies in the country.
"I wanted to get the factual information on such trials so we can press the government to formulate some specific policy to regulate it."
The institute said the studies were funded by the Indian Council of Medical Research, Department of Bio-technology, World Health Organisation and John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in USA and by AIIMS itself.