Trials to develop vaccine against cervical cancer put on hold

New Delhi: Trials to develop a vaccine against cervical cancer have been put on hold following reported death of patients during the process, government told the Rajya Sabha today.

In a written reply in the House, Minister of State for Health and Family Affairs Sudip Bandyopadhyay said Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has issued guidelines for research studies and on ethical practice and consent-taking of subjects during these trials.

Informing the House that an NGO along with the ICMR had conducted trials in Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat, he said "both the trials are suspended as of today" following reports of irregularities in trial by the organisation.

The Minister also said that in 2011, a total of 1,05,740 cervical cancer cases were reported in the country. In 2010 and 2009, 1,03,821 and 1,01,938 cases of cervical cancer were reported in the country.

"Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation has not granted permission to any indigenously-developed vaccine to prevent cervical cancer," he said, adding permission was granted to two companies for import and marketing of vaccines.

Replying to a separate question on life-style diseases, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said "as per reports of different cross sectional studies, an increase in prevalence of these diseases has been reported.

On prevalence of cancer, he said "the prevalence of cancer is estimated at about 28 lakhs with a fresh incidence of about 11 lakh patients being identified every year."

In reply to a query on migration of doctors, Azad said, "only 1368 Good Standing Certificates (required for obtaining employment in abroad) were issued in 2001 and 709 doctors were issued the GSCs in 2012 till August."