Experiments with untruth

Rema Nagarajan, TNN Jul 10, 2011, 02.41am IST

That clinical trials in India are fraught with danger and have no compensation mechanism is well known. What comes as a greater surprise is how the so-called ethics committees constituted to clear such experiments are raking in big money doing precious little . Rema Nagarajan investigates the sordid story for Sunday Times

Ethics committees meant to protect the rights of patients enrolled in clinical trials are doing roaring business in the name of reviewing, approving and monitoring — especially the so-called independent ethics committees (IEC). In most cases, no one seems to know what exactly are these entities that proclaim themselves to be independent ethics committees; who owns them and who collects the revenue earned; how is it distributed and to whom, and how do they decide what amount to charge?

With no law governing the funding mechanism of these bodies, they charge arbitrary amounts and earn fat packets from the business of vetting — actually, approving — trials

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