Diabetes drug: ‘Maybe I erred in my judgement’

There is growing evidence that the ban the Union Health Ministry imposed on June 18 on pioglitazone — a widely used anti-diabetes oral drug — was taken with undue haste and in great secrecy. There was no large-scale scientific study undertaken to know the risk of bladder cancer caused by the drug before imposing the … Continue reading Diabetes drug: ‘Maybe I erred in my judgement’


Editorial: A shockingly unethical trial

Published in The Hindu on May 16, 2011 The question whether all human clinical trials undertaken in India are conducted ethically has been answered. The final report of the three-member committee appointed by the central government to go into the alleged irregularities in the conduct of the human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine trial reveals gross … Continue reading Editorial: A shockingly unethical trial

Editorial: Hyping science

Published in The Hindu on November 6, 2009 When a two-decade-long search for an effective vaccine to prevent HIV infection has been a failure, the pressure to hype and provide spin to make results of a trial look successful increases. More so as only two trials have managed to reach Phase III, the final step … Continue reading Editorial: Hyping science

Editorial: Merck publishes a fake journal

The spectre of Vioxx, the blockbuster non-steroidal anti inflammatory drug (NSAID), continues to haunt pharmaceutical giant Merck even five years after the drug was withdrawn from the market due to its cardiovascular risk. The latest scandal relates to the manner in which the company published several volumes of a faked ‘journal’ that closely resembled a … Continue reading Editorial: Merck publishes a fake journal

Vioxx: drug promotion in guise of research

Published in The Hindu on October 16, 2008 Phase IV trials for postmarketing surveillance of drugs are common and are permitted by the regulators. But it is a different matter when trials are done primarily to promote prescriptions of the drug. They are called the ‘seeding trials.’ “The main point of the seeding trial is … Continue reading Vioxx: drug promotion in guise of research

Orchid: first fundamental research collaboration

Published in The Hindu on October 2, 2008 The Chennai based Orchid Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals Ltd has taken itself to the next level of getting involved in drug discovery programmes with the signing of an agreement on September 26 with Merck & Co. It is a research and collaboration, and licence agreement with Merck. Under … Continue reading Orchid: first fundamental research collaboration

HPV vaccination: key factors studied

Published in The Hindu on September 11, 2008 A formative study was completed recently to understand the various facets of the society and health systems prior to introducing a vaccine that can prevent Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection that is responsible for causing cervical cancer in women. The results of the study were presented to the … Continue reading HPV vaccination: key factors studied

Vioxx safety data manipulated

Published in The Hindu on April 24, 2008 The ghost of Vioxx is coming to haunt the pharmaceutical company Merck four years after it withdrew the drug from the market. Prescribed as a pain killer for arthritis in 1999, the drug was linked to heart attacks before it was pulled out of the market. Blockbuster … Continue reading Vioxx safety data manipulated