August 20, 2008

Indian Health Authorities Orders Probe into Infant Deaths

Indian health authorities orders probe into infant deaths

NEW DELHI, Aug. 19 (Xinhua) -- Indian Health Minister Anbumani Ramdoss asked the All India Institute of Medical Sciences(AIIMS) to order a high-level probe into the death of 49 children during clinical trials in the institute on Tuesday.

The move came after the Congress Party earlier on Monday demanded an independent inquiry into the unusually high number of infant deaths in clinical trials for new drugs at AIIMS and suggested that such tests be put on hold during the pendency of probe.

"It is a matter of great concern that 49 babies have died over the past two-and-a-half years," party spokesman Manish Tiwari told reporters at a briefing.

"The practice of using infants like guinea pigs for drug testing must end." Tiwari said, "India appears to be a cheaper destination than anywhere else in the world for such trials". He pointed out that the number of babies involved in other country were fewer.

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