Sarojini N and Anjali Shenoi, Sama Resource Group for Women and Health | Kafila | 15 May 2011
(HPV) vaccine ‘Demonstration Projects’ conducted by an American NGO PATH, in collaboration with the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and the two state governments of Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat. These projects have raised several pressing questions related to the ethics of biomedical research in India and the deflection of public health priorities in a context where the influence of the pharmaceutical industry is increasing.
Following strong opposition by civil society groups and a member of parliament, these ‘projects’ were temporarily suspended by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). At the same time, the Ministry also appointed a Committee to enquire into the “Alleged irregularities in the conduct of studies using HPV vaccine” with a time frame of three months to submit its report.
A year later, the report submitted by the Committee has identified several deficiencies in the planning and implementation of the project such as ambiguity in the nature and purpose, implementation of the projects, “the need for continued pharmacovigillance of the HPV vaccine” etc.