Tag Archive: India

U.S. pharmaceutical companies have moved their operations overseas in the past decade, testing their drugs on poor people in such lands as Russia, China, Brazil and Romania. It is a $30 billion business, and today around 105 countries are allowing such large corporations as Merck and AstraZeneca to conduct clinical trials on their soil.

One country that has experienced a boom like no other in this industry is India, with its widely spoken English, an established medical infrastructure and welcoming attitudes towards foreign industry. Most importantly, these pharmaceutical companies are exploiting the country’s vast number of illiterate and poor people who are willing to become guinea pigs.

Zeina Awad, a reporter for Al Jazeera’s “Fault Lines” program, traveled to India to investigate clinical research being conducted there. She explored what role the United States regulatory agencies are playing in overseeing the clinical trials, and whether the testing complies with international ethical standards.

Her report, “Outsourced: Clinical Trials Overseas,” aired on Al Jazeera English recently.

New America Media Health Editor Viji Sundaram interviewed Awad about what she found.

Viji Sundaram: Your report seems to suggest that a combination of poverty and inadequate public health care is what drives many Indians to enroll in clinical drug trials as guinea pigs. Do they actually know what they are getting into?

Zeina Awad: The growth of the clinical-trial industry in India needs to be seen within the social and economic context of the country. According to the United Nations, 40 percent of people in India are illiterate. The gap between rich and poor continues to grow. Many risk not knowing whether the treatment their doctor is prescribing is [a proven] treatment or a part of a clinical trial. That aside, it’s also important to remember that in certain societies – and India is one of them – doctors are respected to the point of being revered. Their word is rarely questioned, so the likelihood of a person questioning their doctor about specific treatments is low.

Economics plays a role in a person’s decision-making. We met a young man in the impoverished community of Dharavi (Asia’s largest slum) in Mumbai, who told us that he enrolls in clinical trials as a way to make a living because he makes more money that way then when he works as a laborer. He also told us that he has many friends who do the same. Most of them don’t tell their families because there is some shame associated with doing this.

Sundaram: You report that some U.S. pharmaceutical companies chose patients for their tests at a hospital in Bhopal that was built as a memorial to the 1984 victims of the Union Carbide gas leak. Satinath Sarangi, the activist who is working to get justice for the survivors and one of the people you interviewed, said that 100 Bhopal survivors in six trials enabled the hospital to earn a whopping $220,000. How long were trials allowed to go on there?

Awad: Yes, it is ironic — and sad. The hospital in Bhopal was built by Union Carbide as part of their compensation for the victims of the 1984 gas-leak disaster. But after the scandal about drug testing on the gas leak survivors broke last year, the government took over and banned all testing.

The drug trials ran from 2004 until 2008. The complete lack of empathy of both the doctors we secretly recorded stood out to me. In addition to what one of them says in our film, he also told us he believes the reason why his hospital has been singled out was because others were “jealous” of the hospital’s performance. Some of the pharmaceutical companies and CROs [Clinical Research Organizations] who ran the trials refused to speak to us. Meanwhile, people who are almost always poor and often illiterate fell by the wayside.










YANGON, Myanmar — Lei Yadi Min, a over 1 year-old baby girl, possesses 12 fingers — six each hand, and 14 toes — 7 each foot – setting the new world record for having the Most fingers and toes.

Guinness World Records recognized two previous record holders: The person with the most fingers and toes was Pranamya Menaria (India)who has 25 in total (12 fingers and 13 toes). The person with the most fingers and toes was Devendra Harne (India) who has 25 in total (12 fingers and 13 toes).

Competing with Lei Yadi Min for the world record is also an Indian rival, who owns eight toes each foot.

At present, two Indian children, one over 5 years old and the other over 15 years old with 12 fingers and 13 toes, are registered in Guinness World Records.

 The Guinness world record for the most fingers and toes at birth was set by an anonymous six-year-old boy who was admitted to a hospital in Shenyang, Liaoning province, China, with 31 fingers and toes (15 fingers and 16 toes).

  Lei Yadi Min is now living with her mother and sister in South Okkalarpa township in Yangon.







Most Fingers And Toes


Count’em up. This young man born with 34 fingers and toes set a Guinness World Record for most digits.

Akshat Saxena had seven fingers on each hand and 10 toes on each foot when he was born in India in 2010., a Guinness spokeswoman told The Huffington Post.

“I was so happy to see my baby as it was our first child,” his mother Amrita Saxena told NDTV. “But later, when I saw his fingers, I was shocked and surprised,”

Doctors recently amputated the excess appendages in a series of surgeries and now Saxena has the typical five digits per limb, the Guinness spokeswoman said.

This prodigious polydactyl wasn’t born with thumbs, but doctors planned to create them with pieces of the extra figners, The Hindustan Times reported.

Bollywood‘s versatile actor Ajay Devgan has once again proved that he is the best. The actor has done a daredevil stunt, and broken all his past records in his upcoming flick ‘All The Best‘, along with his co-actress Billo Rani ‘Bipasha Basu‘.

‘All the Best’ is from the house of ‘Golmaal Returns‘, that itself was well known for its stunt gimmicks. In the shot, Ajay proposed the leading lady Basu by giving her a rose from a car that is rotating sideways in mid-air.

%d bloggers like this: