An investigation by an Indian parliamentary committee had previously concluded that the trials amounted to a serious breach of trust and medical ethics amounting to child abuse and ‘a clear cut violation of the human rights of these girl children and adolescents.
Judges in India’s Supreme Court have demanded answers after children died during a controversial cervical cancer vaccine trial. Young tribal girls received shots of pharmaceutical company Merck’s Gardasil vaccine and Cervarix, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline.
The vaccines are given to girls as young as nine in many countries – including the UK and the US – to protect against the human papilloma virus, one of the major causes of cervical cancer.But the Indian court yesterday heard a challenge by campaigners who claim the trials – funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation – failed to obtain the informed consent of the children or their parents. Gardasil 9, which is expected to be worth £1.2 billion a year in sales, has already been approved for use in the US and could be available in the UK later in the year.