by VR Sreeraman on  August 22, 2007 at 11:51 AM Medico Legal News
Indian Patients Demand Compensation from Dutch Medical Firm
A group of some 40 Indian patients with heart problems have demanded compensation from Dutch company Occam International BV, producer of medical intervention appliances and products.

The 40 patients claim to have been used as test subjects without their knowledge or permission, their Amsterdam-based lawyer Lionel Lalji announced Monday.

Occam is known for developing several types of stents, small devices designed to keep coronary arteries open.

Some of Occam's stents elute drugs while others have a special coating.

Medical professionals often try different types of stents to investigate which type is most successful in keeping coronary arteries open and reducing the chance of renewed heart failure.

Last year, journalists from a Dutch current affairs television programme discovered how patients in India were implanted with a new type of Occam stent.

The particular patients were not aware they were used as testees. The Dutch Health Inspection investigated the matter but said tests performed abroad do not fall under their supervision.

The Health Inspection did refer to the company in India as 'unprofessional' and 'amateurish'.

Attorney Lalji says Occam has performed illegal testing. He demands financial compensation of some 20,000 euros ($26,900) per patient. The amount covers medical expenses the patients paid for the stents as well as emotional and physical damages they suffered afterwards.

A Dutch court will hear evidence from Occam's director in the next few weeks. Occam itself refrained from a response on Monday.

Source: IANS

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