The National Human Rights Commission has asked the Union Health Secretary and All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Director to respond to an NGO's petition seeking the rights body's urgent intervention to investigate the deaths of 49 kids during clinical trials at AIIMS since 2006.
The Commission headed by Justice S. Rajendra Babu has given four weeks to the Union Health Secretary and AIIMS director to explain their stand on the allegations levelled in the petition filed by Uday Foundation For Congenital Defects & Rare Groups (Trust), whose RTI query led to the disclosure of these deaths at AIIMS.
Without issuing any formal notice, the NHRC on Wednesday sent copies of the Delhi-based NGO's petition to them. After receiving their responses, the Commission will decide on the further course of action.
In its petition, the foundation has drawn the Commission's attention to news reports that some of the drugs tried on children were actually meant for adults. It was violation of the right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution, he added.
The Foundation's Managing Trustee Rahul Verma has also submitted a copy of AIIMS' response to his RTI query, according to which 4,142 children were used for clinical trials of new drugs and therapies since January 1, 2006 and 2,728 of them were under the age of one. No such trial was conducted on animals, AIIMS' Department of Pediatrics said.
The NGO requested the NHRC to seek a series of information from AIIMS, including the condition of each of the 49 kids at the time of their admission to the hospital, summery of clinical trials conducted on them, reasons of death, etc.