Patients used as guinea pigs at Ayurveda hospital



By Saman Indrajith


An investigation conducted by the Parliamentary watchdog committee – COPE (Committee on Public Enterprises) – has revealed that a new cough syrup was tested, in 2016, on patients who sought treatment at the Ayurvedic Teaching Hospital, Borella, instead of animals.


A private company supplied the cough syrup to the Institute of Indigenous Medicine.


This was revealed during an investigation conducted by the COPE on the Institute of Indigenous Medicine, last Friday.


COPE Chairman JVP MP Sunil Handunnetti ordered an immediate investigation into the matter, at the ministry level.


The cough syrup should have been tested at several stages before being released to the market and approval obtained from the Ethics Committee. It was also revealed that a professor representing the Ethics Committee had been working as a director of the private company that supplied the cough syrup to the Institute of Indigenous Medicine.


It was further revealed that advertisements and promotional campaigns had been conducted to promote the syrup, stating that it had been clinically approved by the Institute.


The Director of the Institute, responding to COPE Chairman Handunnetti, said that the testing had taken place, in 2016, and she had appointed a committee to conduct an investigation and prepare a report. COPE Chairman ordered that a special investigation be conducted at the Ministry level besides the one conducted by the institute.


Rs. 101 million allocated to the institute by the Treasury to solve the hostel problem of the indigenous medical students had been returned to the Treasury. Currently, the institute remains closed due its students’ accommodation problems.


COPE member non-Cabinet minister Dr. Harsha de Silva said that Treasury funds were meant to pay rent for the houses acquired by the institute as hostels for the students, and attention should have been focused on constructing a permanent hostel.


COPE chairman Handunnetti said that it had been observed that more students dropped out of the Indigenous Medicine degree programme when compared to other academic courses. He asked the institute officials to study the problem and submit a report to the COPE.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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