‘We are rolling out a vaccine when we don’t even have the phase 2 trial results; forget about phase 3 trial results.’
‘Why are we playing with people’s lives?’
Serious violations that have taken place in the phase 3 trial of Covaxin developed by the Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech in Bhopal have shocked scientists, activists and citizens.
First. The volunteers of the trial conducted by the People’s College of Medical Sciences and Research Centre were residents from the areas close to the Union Carbide factory, or rather the 1984 Bhopal gas victims.
Then, it came to light that the ‘poor and illiterate’ volunteers didn’t know they were participating in a trial.
A majority of these volunteers signed the consent forms thinking they were getting vaccinated against coronavirus and not taking part in a trial. And the Rs 750 offered by the hospital was a large amount for these poor people.
Finally, the death of a 42-year-old daily labourer who had participated in the vaccine trial.
The hospital and Bharat Biotech strongly refuted the allegations by the family and activists that his death was related to the vaccine. According to the hospital, it was due to poisoning.
This incident has cast a shadow over the way medical trials are conducted in India.