New Delhi: The government has decided to take over a Bhopal-based hospital, which is under regulatory scanner for alleged testing of banned drugs by a multinational pharmaceutical company on victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy.
The government will take over Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre (BMHRC) through the Department of Bio-technology and Department of Atomic Energy, Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilizers Srikant Kumar Jena said on Thursday.
In written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha, Jena said BMHRC would be "strengthened, upgraded and run as a super speciality and research hospital."
The Madhya Pradesh government recently ordered an inquiry into the alleged testing of banned drugs at the hospital during which three people died.
The human trial, done on the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy, was sponsored by a US-based drug firm Theravance Inc. The trial was conducted between 2004 and 2008 for the Nasdaq-listed Theravance Inc`s drug Vibativ. The drug`s generic name is telavancin.
However, the minister tried to give a clean chit to the hospital, saying the Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals has not received any report of alleged corrupt practices in the running of BMHRC.
Twenty-five years ago, on the night of Dec 2-3, 1984, at least 3,500 people had died instantly and hundreds more later after a deadly gas leaked from the Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal. Union Carbide was subsequently acquired by Dow Chemicals.
According to BMHRC official website, the hospital provides free services to victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy. It is being run by Bhopal Memorial Hospital Trust, constituted on the directives of the Supreme Court.