A three-member committee has begun inquiring into allegations of illegal clinical trials at Niloufer Hospital, Telangana's top government healthcare centre for women and children following allegations from a senior doctor that such trials were being conducted on behalf of pharma companies and without proper, informed consent from the parents.
The probe was ordered by Dr Ramesh Reddy, the Director of Medical Education, after the hospital's resident medical officer, Dr Lalu Prasad, wrote to Telangana Health Minister Etela Rajinder and state police.
In his letter, Dr Prasad alleged that Dr Ravi Kumar, the head of paediatrics, had colluded with pharma companies to conduct clinical trials in violation of established norms.
Dr Ravi Kumar has denied all claims of wrongdoing and has said all trials were carried out following due procedure and with all required permissions, including those from the Ethics Committee.
"When Dr Ramesh Reddy was superintendent here, he also gave permissions and we conducted clinical trials,'' Dr Ravi Kumar said
The hospital superintendent has been asked to submit detailed documentation to show that proper protocol had indeed been followed in all trials.
Dr Reddy has said no patient, either in the Out Patient or In Patient departments, had been illegally administered any drug that is still under trial.
Critics say the controversy at Niloufer Hospital is the result of differences between two doctors. Dr Reddy has urged his colleagues to refrain from defaming medical institutions to settle personal scores.
Union Minister of State for Home Kishan Reddy has also sought a report on the clinical trials being conducted at the hospital.
In the past few years statistics suggest Telangana government hospitals have increasingly served as laboratories for clinical trials, which is a mandatory step new drugs must clear before being allowed to enter the market.
Testing is initially done on animals before it is performed on human beings. In each case there are specific ethical and safety protocols that must be followed