ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

Sandhya SrinivasanSubscribe to Sandhya Srinivasan

Ethical Challenges in Public Health Research

The eighth Krishna Raj Memorial lecture by Eric Suba, held recently, was based on the visual inspection with acetic acid test for cervical cancer trials held in India and the lack of ethics they involved. Research that uses the absence of care as the foundation of its trial design is exploitative research that violates the rights of its participants who put their faith in researchers to protect them from harm.

Regulation and the Medical Profession

The Clinical Establishments (Registration and Regulation) Act, 2010 which is in force in a few states is being sought to be placed before the state legislature in Maharashtra amidst vehement protest from the medical fraternity. This legislation, which the Indian Medical Association claims will lead to doctors being harassed, was born of a long patients' rights movement against abysmal infrastructure conditions and poorly qualifi ed staff in small clinics, hospitals, and diagnostic and pathology laboratories.

Clinical Trial Industry: No Accountability?

The Indian government has been promoting the country as an attractive site for outsourced clinical trials. However, there is no regulatory mechanism in place while a bill on clinical research has been hanging fire for five years. There is an urgent need to protect trial participants who are vulnerable to exploitation by the drug companies, the contract research organisations and investigators.

The HPV Vaccine: Science,Ethics and Regulation

A recent civil society-led investigation has highlighted serious ethical violations in a trial of the Human Papilloma Virus vaccine on girls in Khammam district in Andhra Pradesh. The findings are presented along with a review of clinical trials of the hpv vaccine in India and an analysis of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act and Rules. Together they illustrate how the promotional practices of drug companies, pressure from powerful international organisations, and the co-option of, and uncritical endorsement by, India's medical associations are influencing the country's public health priorities.

The Clinical Trials Scenario in India

The government is aggressively promoting India as a location for clinical trials even before setting up the structure to regulate the conduct of these trials. Clinical trials are conducted by contract research organisations which are making inroads into small towns, identifying trial sites in small private hospitals and developing databases of potential trial participants. Medical professionals are given substantial incentives to recruit their own patients into these trials thus creating a major conflict of interest that threatens the well-being of patients.

National Bioethics Conference

The emergence of healthcare ethics as a discipline in India reflects the growing awareness and concern for ethics in the medical profession, academic institutions and the public. Bioethics, which covers a larger area than medical ethics, was the subject of the first national conference on this subject held late last year in Mumbai. A report on the conference and the spread of this important area of study and concern.
Back to Top