Age limit relaxed for financial assistance to institutional deliveries #Goodnews


AARTI DHAR, The Hindu

Move expected to reduce neonatal, maternal mortality in young mothers

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has relaxed eligibility parameters for the Janani Suraksha Yojana (JSY), which provides financial assistance to mothers for institutional deliveries. Now, Below Party Line (BPL) women can access JSY benefits irrespective of their age and number of children.

All women from BPL category, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in all States and Union Territories will be eligible for JSY benefits if they have given birth in a government or private accredited health facility. BPL women who prefer to deliver at home can also get JSY benefits.

Launched in 2005, the JSY is the government’s main scheme to enable women — especially those from vulnerable sections — to access institutional delivery. This was done to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality.

“The decision was taken after it was realised that a majority of women, who needed JSY benefits, remained out of the purview of the scheme because they had to prove they were 19 years of age and had no more than two children,” Anuradha Gupta, Additional Secretary and Mission Director, National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), told The Hindu on Tuesday.

The highest maternal mortality is reported among girls aged 14-15; the majority of these were out of the purview of the JSY as they were unable to produce proof of age or verify the number of children they had, Ms. Gupta explained.

Till now, the scheme provided assistance for institutional delivery to all pregnant women who give birth in a government or private accredited health facility in Low Performing States (those with bad health indicators, such as Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand and Assam). A woman gets Rs.1,400 for delivery in a government facility or accredited private facility and Accredited Social Health Activist (ASHA) gets Rs. 600 in rural areas. In the urban areas, the amounts paid are Rs.1,000 and Rs. 400 respectively.

However, in High Performing States (those with good health indices, such as Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka), assistance for institutional delivery was available to women from BPL/SC/ST households, aged 19 or above and only up to two live births for delivery in a government or private accredited health facility. The financial entitlement was Rs. 700 to the mother and Rs. 600 for the ASHA in rural areas and Rs. 600 and Rs. 400 in urban settings.

Further, in all States/Union Territories, the scheme provided Rs. 500 to BPL women — aged 19 or above and who deliver up to two live births — who prefer to deliver at home. With the amendments, all women who deliver at home will be entitled to this amount, basically for nutrition.

The government claims that as a result of the scheme, there has been an increase in institutional deliveries — from 47 per cent in 2007-08 to 72.9 per cent in 2009 (Coverage Evaluation Survey) and, most recently, to approximately 79 per cent — as per Health Ministry data.

 


  • Henceforth, all BPL women will get JSY benefits
  • Many were excluded for being under 19

 

PRESS RELEASE- Govt removes two child norm from maternal entitlements #Victory #Goodnews


The Coalition Against Two-child Norm and Coercive Population Policies, the National Alliance on Maternal Health and Human Rights (NAMHHR), the Right to Food Campaign (RTFC), and the Working Group for Children under six (WGCU6) with the support of  national networks and NGOs , have been advocating for the removal of these conditionalities with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for the last three months.

Our submissions, supported by members of the NRHM Mission Steering Group and the Department, have led to a revised GO on theremoval of conditions related to the two-child norm and age from maternity entitlements like JSY and NMBS by the MoHFWw.e.f. 8 May 2013 , check GO on removal of 2CN in JSY

Our next effort collectively should be directed towards the removal of these disqualifying conditions from the IGMSY (Pilot) scheme of the Ministry of Women and Child to ensure that the universal maternity entitlements promised in the NFSB, will be unconditional.

We also hope that this directive from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare  can now be used in your own states, to advocate for removal of this norm from all other schemes. Please let us know if we can work together or help in this.

In solidarity,Jashodhara, Sejal and Abhijit

*This is despite the fact that the poorest women (including Dalits and Adivasis) who most need these schemes as social support, are usually the ones who have more than two children. These women also have high unmet need for contraception. These women are constrained by the fact that child survival is lowest among them (four times more babies die among the poorest families as compared to the richest) and they desperately need children since the state does not provide adequate social support in old age.

  •   Coalition Against Two-Child Norm and Coercive Population Policies
  • CommonHealth – Coalition for Maternal Neonatal Health and Safe Abortion
  •  Healthwatch Forum, Bihar
  • Healthwatch Forum, Uttar Pradesh
  • India Alliance for Child Rights (IACR)
  • Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA)
  • National Alliance on Maternal Health and Human Rights
  • Right to Food Campaign
  • Working Group for Children Under 6 (Right to Food Campaign)
  • Download GO on removal of 2CN in JSY

 

#INDIA- Mental Health Law Reform: Challenges Ahead


Posted on December 23, 2012by 

by Aditya Ayachit

mentalMental disorders are complex physiological infirmities of the nervous system. While they continue be the tough riddles in the field of medical research, they pose even more daunting challenges in the socio-economic and legal contexts. In recent times the mental health laws across the world have undergone a significant change. A policy of segregation has been abandoned in favor of a policy of integration and protection. Theprima facie reason for this shift appears to be the increasing influence of the Human Rights discourse over laws and policy making. Thus, a new mental healthcare paradigm has emerged which advocates that the mentally ill are not objects of charity or social protection but are subjects with rights and States and the International bodies are under an obligation to provide them with the means of enforcing these rights.The international consensus about the new paradigm was strongly conveyed by the near unanimous acceptance of theUnited Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2006(commonly known as the Disability Convention’) and Principles for the Protection of Persons with Mental Illness and the Improvement of Mental Health Care (or simply the MI Principles).

India is a signatory to the Disability Convention. However, it has failed to bring its laws and institutions in tune with the standards set by the convention. To fulfill its commitments under the Disability Convention, 2006 and MI principles of 1991, India needs a major overhaul of its disability laws and policies dealing with mental health care. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MHFW) recently came out with the Mental Health Care Bill 2012 responding to this formidable legislative challenge. The reactions to this bill were mixed with some groups lauding provisions decriminalizing attempted suicide by a mentally ill person, ensuring the availability of insurance for treatment of mental illness at par with physical illness and prohibition of certain medical procedures like the Electro Convulsive Therapy (in case of minors), Sterilization and Chaining, while others opposing the bill on the ground that its provisions curtailed patient autonomy and liberalized the laws for involuntary admissions to mental institutions. This post does not aim to comprehensively review the bill. Rather, it attempts to map the issues that the Bill appears to address and contrasts the status quo with the regime the bill seeks to establish.

Few Mental Health Practitioners and Institutions in India

A recent statistic from the MHFW indicates that about 7 percent of the Indian Population suffers from some form of mental disorder. Another startling statistic is that 90 percent of these disorders remain untreated. The leading cause behind this paradox is the acute shortage of mental health institutions and qualified mental health practitioners in India. Our large and populous country of 1.2 billion people has about 40 mental health institutions, 3,500 psychiatrists, 500 clinical psychologists, 300 psychiatric social workers and 1,000 psychiatric nurses to treat its mentally ill citizens. In addition to this, most of the institutions and practitioners are located in urban areas. This creates a serious problem in a country like India where over 70 percent of the population lives in rural areas.

mAccording to the National Family Health Survey, the private medical sector remains the primary source of health care for the majority of households in both urban areas (70 percent) and rural areas (63 percent) of India. While private players contribute immensely to the health care industry, it remains the case that they generally shy away from investing in mental health institutions.  This is mainly due to low policy priority given to mental health sector, strict licensing requirements under the Mental Health Act 1987 and the lack of any special incentive for investing in this sector. Today in India, government health policies mainly focus on communicable diseases like HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis or on child malnutrition or on reproductive healthcare. Mental healthcare rarely finds mention in the policy. This underscores the importance of this sector and makes the investment environment in such services unattractive and discouraging.

Another factor that reduces the likelihood of private investment in mental health care is the strict licensing regime set up by the Mental Health Act 1987; the legislation that currently governs the mental health sector. This Act lays down a complicated procedure of issuing a non-transferable and non-heritable license to a person who wishes to open a mental healthcare institution. The act further discriminates between government established institutions and privately maintained institutions by exempting the government institutions from the statutory requirement of obtaining a license. If private participation is to be encouraged, this system of licensing needs to be rationalized.The Mental Health Care Bill 2012 goes a long way in this regard. The bill replaces the stringent licensing system with a simpler system of registration. The registration unlike a license is not linked to a particular person and is freely transferable for instance on the sale of the institution. It also allows the institution an appeal to the High Court if the grant of registration or renewal of registration or cancellation of registration is refused by the appropriate authority. While the bill seeks to relax the laws governing the setting up of mental health institutions it must ensure via its provisions that this does not in any way affect the quality of health care provided in these institutions. The issue of quality of health care will be taken up further in this post.

mental_health_disorders_other_issues_that_fuel_substance_abuseTo ensure that rural areas also benefit from private investment, the incentives given to invest in rural areas could be greater than those given for investment in urban areas. Another way in which the presence of mental health facilities in rural areas can be increased is by proper implementation of the District Mental Health Program which was initiated by the Government of India in 1996. Currently, the program is under implementation in only 123 of the total 657 districts of the country. A proper implementation of the program would go a long way towards ensuring that rural areas have adequate mental care facilities in near vicinity.

Poor Quality of Mental Health Institutions

The second core issue in this area is the unacceptable quality of medical care provided to the mentally ill in the existing mental health institutions in our country. It would not be an overstatement to say that the patients who receive mental health treatment in India are treated in a most inappropriate and inhuman way in our mental institutions. The institutions usually resemble prisons where the mentally ill are debased and deprived of their dignity. They are made to live in unacceptable living conditions and are shackled down in chains for long hours. They are fed unhygienic prepared unwholesome meals, are subjected to painful medical procedures without their consent, are regularly beaten and in some cases are also subjected to sexual assault. Sometimes they are sterilized on the basis of a medical myth that sterilization cures mental disability. In essence, the patients never receive adequate treatment. Rather the treatment aggravates their condition and makes them sick and infirm for life completely eliminating any hope of rehabilitation or a chance of leading a normal life (see here and here for more). Any mental health care legislation must develop a structured mechanism for ensuring that our mental health institutions do not fall short of the internationally accepted standards of treatment and care. The Mental Health Act 1987 and the State Mental Health Rules 1990 provide detailed safeguards to ensure that the health institutions meet the statutory standard. While building upon this legacy, any new legislation must incorporate the minimum standards laid down in the Disability Convention of 2006 and the MI Principles of 1991. Further, steps must be taken to bring government maintained institutions under the purview of these regulatory procedures. It may be noted here that the Mental Health Act 1987 is quite inconsistent with the principles and safeguards laid down in the aforesaid international instruments and as government hospitals are deemed to be licensed institutions under the act, it is unclear whether the procedures laid down for revocation of license in cases of non-compliance are applicable against  government facilities.

Consent of the Mentally Ill Patients

depression-4Another aspect that would have to be substantially addressed in mental health legislations is with respect to consent of the patient to receive treatment. It is a cardinal principle of medical science that no one may be subjected to any medical procedure without his/her express consent and such procedure may not continue after the person has withdrawn his consent. Mental Healthcare raises complex questions regarding consent. The Mental Health Care Bill 2012 provides innovative solutions to the problem of consent. The bill allows persons to register an ‘advance directive’ with the appropriate mental health board. An ‘advance directive’ is a legal document containing details of the kind of treatment a person wishes to receive or does not wish to receive in the event of mental illness. It also contains the details of the person’s nominated representatives who are entitled to give consent on the person’s behalf when he is not in a position to give consent. The bill provides procedures for amendment or cancellation of advanced directives and also gives powers to the Central or State mental health board to review advance directives and to suspend or amend them in some special cases (for instance when the advance directive has been made under force, coercion, undue influence etc. or when it was made without proper knowledge). While many groups are touting advance directive as a foolproof solution to the problem of consent, it remains to be seen how this statutory tool would operate in real life. This provision has been opposed on the grounds that it would be susceptible to gross misuse especially in rural areas where the patients are illiterate and are not aware about their rights.

Rehabilitation and Social Awareness

Another issue that the bill attempts to address is rehabilitation and social awareness. These concepts are inter-related. The extent to which a patient can be restored back in his life (family, community and occupation) depends on the social understanding of mental illness and the attitude of the society towards the mentally ill. A society which rejects the mentally ill or which despises them cannot possibly assist in rehabilitation of the patient. As societal attitudes are shaped to a large extent by education, an awareness program which aims towards creating social understanding about mental illness can directly assist in making the society more suitable for rehabilitation of the patient. Mental Health Act 1987does not contain any provisions regarding social education or patient rehabilitation. The Mental Health Care Bill 2012 addresses this lacunae and creates an obligation on the Central and State governments to spread awareness about mental illness and its appropriate treatments. The Bill lays emphasis on lowering the stigma associated with mental illness so that a patient’s rehabilitation in the society may be facilitated. It may be noted here that a proper implementation of the aforesaid provisions may go a long way in debunking the long standing myths about mental illness (like mental illness is caused due to demonic possession or that mental illness is incurable) and make the society a better place for the mentally ill.

socialHuman well-being in a country cannot be ensured unless its citizens are physically and mentally fit. Mental health is prone to neglect because it is difficult to detect, difficult to cure and also difficult to explain to the people. The Mental Health Care Bill 2012 appears to be a commendable effort towards addressing the long standing problems encountered by patients and practitioners alike in the sector of mental healthcare and restoring the long lost dignity of the mentally ill.

Image Courtesy: herehereherehere and here

(Aditya Ayachit is an Assistant Editor with the Journal of Indian Law and Society)

 

INDIA- Caste Disparities in Maternal Health #mustread


 

WRITTEN BY  AUGUST 3, 2012 , NIRMUKTA.COM 

In India, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) through its various programs and schemes such as the “Reproductive and Child Health” program pledges to provide essential and basic maternal healthcare services. This is largely due to the dismal status of health of women and children in our country. India’s neonatal, infant, under 5 [children], and maternal mortality rates are worst than what we see for South-East Asian countries around us. Maternal healthcare which is prescribed as essential includes: three antenatal care check-ups (ANC), two tetanus toxoid injections (TT), a hundred iron folic acids tablets (IFA), delivery with the assistance of a skilled birth attendant (SBA), and contraceptives for fertility control. The services are provided at various health centres in the community as well as door-to-door by healthcare professionals such as the Auxiliary Nurse Midwives (ANMs), Anganwadi Workers and Multipurpose Health Workers.

Mothers in Patna, Bihar gather outside a hospital gate awaiting compensation for women via the Janani Suraksha Yojna.

District Hospital,Patna, Bihar. Mothers gather to receive ~Rs. 500 through a new program ‘Janani Suraksha Yojna’ which compensates women for safe delivery (SBA). (Image by esaroha. License: Creative Commons BY-SA-3.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/.)

Such programs have been around for more than half a century and their design and description makes us believe that they should be successful in at least ensuring the availability of these services if not checking the mortality rates. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Over the years, innumerable studies have shown that the services are under utilized (<30%) and women continue to underrate benefits of pregnancy care. Several reasons such as poverty, illiteracy, parity, religion, dysfunctional health system, etc., have been identified. At the same time, caste has been found by many researchers as another key determinant but surprisingly this factor is rarely examined in-depth. It is argued that caste and poverty are synonymous; implying that since most lower caste women are poor and poverty is a key determinant there is no need to brood over caste as a crucial and an independent determinant. The underlying premise vended here is that once everyone becomes rich, lower caste will also become rich and all problems will be resolved.

The above-stated utopian explanation is hard to accept and merits enquiry. In the late 1990s, a study in ~30 villages of Maitha block in Kanpur Dehat, Uttar Pradesh (UP) was conducted to see if maternal healthcare services utilization varied by caste in an extremely caste conscious society. Maitha block is a typical rural community in UP where poverty, ignorance, and a complicated caste hierarchy is the way of life. In most rural communities we see presence of various healthcare professionals; above-mentioned government healthcare providers, doctors, quacks, healers, Dai, etc. In Maitha also, all these healthcare providers are present but in terms of pregnancy care the complexity of providers is worth mentioning. It is interesting to note that other than the Dai who belongs to lower caste and assists with the delivery of the baby (massages the womb, holds the baby when the baby is coming out, bathes the baby after birth and gives the baby to the mother), there is also Dhankun who belongs to the lowest caste and her role is reserved for tasks considered to be dirtiest such as disposal of the placenta, cleaning of the vagina, cleaning of the blood soaked clothes and floor, and cutting of the umbilical cord. Access to this wide variety of providers depends on one’s caste and class status. Lowest caste women such as Dhankun cannot expect a Dai or upper caste nurse or doctor to come to her house and help her deliver the baby, dispose off the placenta, clean her and her baby, etc. Lower and lowest caste women settle for what is available at home or within their caste community, which is usually the unskilled providers. This study revealed that upper caste women were 5 times more likely to be attended by skilled/trained birth attendants (ANMs, doctors, and nurses) and Dai and Dhankuncompared to the lower caste women. The practice of untouchability and caste discrimination is starkly visible.

Other than the delivery care, this study also showed that ANC, TT, and contraceptives were also disproportionately utilized by upper caste women than the lower caste women. Interestingly, IFA were equally utilized by both upper and lower caste women. Again, it is inevitable to comment on the role of untouchability while examining these mixed findings. Sadly, the nature of service delivery explains the contrasting and complex mechanics. When a woman is provided ANC, TT, and contraceptives (copper-t, tubectomy/sterilization are the most preferred contraceptive choice in India whereas condoms, oral pills, etc., are used <5%) the provider [reluctantly] establishes physical contact, whereas, IFA tablets can be dispensed without any physical contact between two individuals.

These study findings are disheartening and disturbing. Here it is very pertinent to mention that the study took into consideration other socio-demographic (poverty, literacy, parity, etc.) factors in order to confirm that caste was indeed a significant independent determinant. It was found that other than caste only maternal literacy was another critical determinant but no matter which factors were added to the statistical model the caste factor continued to influence healthcare utilization in favour of the upper caste women.

Three women in rural India holding their babies(Image via Unicef)

It was difficult to come to terms with the stark reality of caste discrimination after 50+yrs of independence in our society through this study. Fellow researchers commented that this is not merely discrimination it is genocide. I disputed, I denied, I defended but lost the argument when it became evident to me how our society is discreetly executing mechanics to slowly but steadily efface certain people because they happen to belong to a caste group we despise but can not do without. The morbid health status will push them to mortal state… it’s just a matter of time. We all are party to this genocide some consciously and proactively other passively.

Health programs in our country do not address the issue of caste discrimination for the reasons best known to the MOHFW only, I presume. Healthcare providers are trained and educated in various streams like clinical skills, data management, counselling, etc., but no training or workshops are held to sensitize them towards eradication of caste discrimination or promotion of health equity. Such training requirements will not find a place in the annual health plans of the States unless researchers tirelessly demonstrate that caste discrimination persists and influence our health indicators. The study in Maitha revealed that 4 out of 5 critical healthcare services were disproportionally utilized across caste groups yet such evidence will be considered weak and rare. Like all other Ministries MOHFW is also crowded with upper caste bureaucrats who deny caste disparities and would be reluctant to allocate budgets for such sensitization programs. It is an uphill task indeed but unless policies are put in place not much can be achieved since lower caste women do not consider themselves worthy of maternal care, they do not demand healthcare from their family members let alone from the healthcare providers. In such a scenario it is imprudent to expect a wave of change to advance from a village(s) and emancipate all.

 

‘Sponsored’ doctors under scanner’ #Goodnews :-)


 

English: Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Chief Minister...

English: Shivraj Singh Chauhan, Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, India. Français : Shivraj Singh Chauhan, chef de l’exécutif (Chief Minister) du Madhya Pradesh, Inde. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

By Express News Service – NEW DELHI

11th July 2012 10:18 AM

Eleven doctors from Madhya Pradesh, who allegedly went with their families to England and Scotland, are facing a probe, with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare suspecting that a pharmaceutical company could have sponsored their trip.

Speaking to Express, Medical Council of India (MCI) Secretary, Dr Sanjay

Shrivastava, said he is yet to receive a formal order from the Health Ministry for a probe against the doctors.

“Our ethics committee, which has eminent members on the board, will examine the matter after receiving the complaint and only after getting the report we will decide the next course of action,” Shrivastava said.

However, the doctors who figured in the list sent to the PMO denied taking a sponsored trip and said the group of doctors paid for the entire travel. One of the doctors, Srikant Rege of Indore told Express that he never accepted any free tickets from any drug  company and that the allegation was a farce. Another medical practitioner from Jabalpur, Dr Harsh Saxena, said somebody with ulterior motives had complained to Member of Parliament Dr Jyoti Mirdha about the group travel and there seemed to be some misunderstanding as it was a self-financed tour. He also refuted the genuineness of evidence submitted to the Prime Minister’s Office by the Mirdha.

MP Jyoti Mirdha, along with her letter, had enclosed the ticket and PNR numbers, as well as the itinerary prepared by drug manufacturing company for the travel to England and Scotland.

“As I’m writing this letter a total of 11 doctors along with their families are holidaying in England and Scotland on a trip financed by Intas Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Details including names of passengers along with their addresses, ticket numbers, hotels and itinerary are attached for your perusal. Needless to say, acceptance of such trips is in violation of MCI rules,” Mirdha’s communiqué to PM stated.

She has also raised the issue of dichotomy in rules set up to govern the sponsorship issues. “While the MCI rules bar doctors from accepting gifts, tickets, hospitality from healthcare industry, there are no corresponding obligations on the part of the drug industry not to offer such freebies and face penal action in case of violations,” the letter dated June 1, 2012, said.

After some multinational companies were fined by regulating authorities for inducing doctors through unethical means, the MCI notified a mandatory code of ethics to be followed by all medical practitioners. The gazette notification dated December 10, 2009, prohibits the acceptance of gifts, hospitality, travel grants, funds and endorsement of commercial products by doctors.

CHECK THE HOLIDAY TICKET BELOW

Intas.Doctors on holiday

 

 

 

Sterilisations carried out under torchlight on Dalits, SC asks why


New Delhi: The Supreme Court today sought the stands of the Centre and various state governments on a plea alleging sterilisation surgeries on women under torchlight, in various places, specially in Bihar, in gross violation of the medical and ethical norms.

A bench of justices R M Lodha and H L Gokhale issued notices to the Centre and various states and sought their replies within eight weeks on a public interest litigation by non-governmental organisation Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) which bought to the court’s notice the alleged horrific incidents, particularly in Bihar.

Appearing for the petitioner, senior counsel Collin Gonsalves told the bench that operations “were performed by doctors under torchlight and activists of an NGO were administering anaesthesia to the patients.”

According to the NGO HRLN, a sterilisation camp was held at the Kaparfora Government Middle School at Araria in Bihar in January this year by an NGO in coordination with the State Health Society, where a private doctor used the school classroom as an operating theatre for sterilisation surgeries on at least 53 poor, Dalit women.

Devika Biswas, the activist who filed the petition said women were operated on paddy straws provided by the local villagers leaving three women bleeding severely and requiring their subsequent treatments at a private medical hospital, the NGO said in its petition.

“In clear violation of the government guidelines and the basic human rights, the doctor performed surgeries at night, under torchlight. During the two hours he was operating, the doctor did not wash his hands, change gloves, or wear a surgical gown and cap,” the petition alleged.

Most of the women from the camp had to seek costly private care later, the petition alleged adding that none of the women were counselled, either before or after the surgeries.

“The horrific human rights violations extend beyond these events in Bihar,” the petition added.

“After their surgeries, untrained NGO workers placed the women on straw paddy provided by the families. The doctor operated on one pregnant woman, Jitni Devi, who miscarried days after her surgery. The doctor and NGO staff left three women profusely bleeding, including Saraswati Devi, who spent 8 days recovering in the hospital,” the petition stated.

“Doctors and health facilities across the county routinely flaunt the ethical and procedural guidelines prescribed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the constitutional obligations and international norms. The Public Interest Litigation specifically outlines examples of coerced and unsafe sterilisations in Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Rajasthan,” it claimed.

Immediate Release- Illegal Clinical Trials and Death Continue …


SWASTHYA ADHIKAR MANCH

6, BIJASAN ROAD, OPPOSITE MAHAVIR BAGH, INDORE, MADHYA PRADESH-452005.

Press Note

New Delhi, 26th March 2012 : The Writ Petition filed by Swasthya Adhikar Manch came up for hearing today before a bench consisting of Justice R.M. Lodha and Justice H. L. Gokhale. The Senior Counsel appearing for the Union of India sought time to file counter affidavit. The Medical Council of India as well as State of Madhya Pradesh also asked for time and were granted six weeks. Thereafter, petitioner Swasthya Adhikar Manch has been granted time to file Rejoinder Affidavit.The counsel for Swasthya Adhikar Manch, Mr Sanjay Parikh, pointed out that it has been acknowledged by Minister of Health and Family Affairs, that illegal trials have been conducted and some of them are even without approval of the DCGI. He also mentioned that no Placebo Trials should be conducted in the country. The Hon’ble Judges remarked that the situation is serious and deaths are taking place. On the application for impleadment filed on behalf of Contract Research Organizations, the Supreme Court sought information about their legal status for operating in the Country. The Counsel for the petitioner pointed out that these Contract Research Organizations outsource and offshore the clinical trials on behalf of the multinational drug companies and ensure one window solutions for getting approval of the DCGI.

Meanwhile, the issue, being of national importance has been raised in MP Vidhan Sabha and the Rajya SabhaIn response to a question in the Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha, it was stated that out of 81 patients who had suffered serious adverse effects, 33 persons have died. A list of names and addresses was provided which indicate death of 33 persons including children. No action has been taken by State of Madhya Pradesh inspite of such shocking state of affairs.

The Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare in a recent answer on March 13th to a question in Rajya Sabha pointed out that during the last 3 years 2009, 2010 and 2011 a total of 1229 trials were conducted in which 1743 deaths occurred in last 3 years and 2163 deaths in last 5 years as per data collected from Rajya Sabha and RTI documents. It was also mentioned that only in 22 cases of death in 2010 that the compensation has been paid by sponsors / clinical research organizations. The Petitioners – Swasthya Adhikar Manch are extremely concerned at this situation and further increasing number of deaths. We urge that even during pendency of the Writ Petition, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare should take steps to stop the illegal clinical trials.

Amulya Nidhi, Chinmay Mishra

(9425311547), (9893278855)

(amulyabhai@gmail.com) (chinmay.saroj@gmail.com)

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