More than 200 people who took part in clinical trials have lost their lives between January and June 2012, amounting to nearly 10 deaths every week, a new report has said.
Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad revealed that 211 people have died in the first six months of the year due to serious adverse events (SAE) and said that the health ministry will be conducting an investigation to check how many of the deaths occurred due to drugs administered during the clinical trials.
Azad said that over 1,950 people died from 2009 to June 2012 with 668 deaths in 2010 and 438 deaths in 2011. However investigations revealed that deaths caused by clinical trials were just 22 and 16 in 2010 and 2011 respectively.
One way to reduce the number of SAE related deaths could be to increase the compensation paid by pharmaceutical companies to the families of the dead. According to a proposal by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization pharmaceutical companies should pay greater compensation if the patient is younger.
"The youth could be the sole bread-winner of the family and would have lived longer but for the adverse drug reaction. So, the guidelines quantify accordingly who should get how much compensation. At present, both could get the same amount and it could be abysmally low if decided by the pharmaceutical company", a CDSCO official said.