Experts at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) have rubbished a media report which said that 49 children undergoing clinical trials at the hospital died due to the drugs administered to them.
“None of the deaths can be attributed to the drugs. These were sick children who died in the natural course,” said Dr Vinod Kumar Paul, professor and head, department of paediatrics, AIIMS. On Monday Dr Paul held a high-level faculty review to assess the available data.
“Of a total of 4,142 children, only half were enrolled for the clinical trials of new drugs and therapies by the department of paediatrics since January 1, 2006. This figure of 4,142 includes the control
group patients also. So the 49 dead included both those on the drugs and those undergoing standard treatment,” added Dr Paul.
Based on a Right to Information (RTI) application, an NGO had claimed yesterday that 49 children undergoing clinical trials at the premier institute had died over two and a half years.
Hindustan Times had reported on Sunday that the tests had been ethically conducted and AIIMS had got all necessary clearances.
“We want an in depth inquiry into the deaths of the children at AIIMS,” said Naresh Dayal, Union Health Secretary, said after a health ministry meeting on Monday evening.
Meanwhile, the Congress and the left parties have also demanded a probe into the deaths.
Dr YK Gupta, spokesperson for AIIMS, said, “All the studies were funded by international institutions and government organisations such as the Indian Council of Medical Research, Department of Bio-technology, World Health Organisation, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in USA or by AIIMS.”