New Delhi: Taking note of grievances aired by the Swadeshi Jagran Manch on an alleged attempt to introduce the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccine for cervical cancer in India, the Prime Minister Office shot a letter to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Wednesday.
The letter acknowledged the complaint received by SJM, an RSS affiliate, and stated: “The outfit has asked for stoppage of introduction of HPV vaccine as it has highest rate of adverse effect among all vaccine in use for cervical cancer as per the World Health Organization report.”
Reacting to the development, the national co-convener of Swadeshi Jagran Manch, Ashwani Mahajan, said that the 72nd report by the Parliamentary Standing Committee castigated the Indian Council Medical Research, Drug Controller General of India, Ethics Committee members, and PATH for the unethical manner in which this clinical trial was conducted.
“The letter from the PMO is a positive development in curbing these malpractices in health sector. After the Parliamentary Standing Committee's stand our case has become much stronger,” said Mahajan.
SJM claimed this vaccine was used in an unethical trial by PATH, ICMR and Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK), which was associated with the death of many tribal children in Andhra Pradesh.
They said that reports suggest “a number of safety signals like complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) have emerged with human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines, which share a similar pattern of symptomatology”.
“They cannot be passed off as mass hysteria,” SJM’s letter to the PMO mentioned.
According to American College of Paediatricians’ new publication “New Concerns’: “The vaccines could possibly be associated with the very rare but serious condition of premature ovarian failure (POF), also known as premature menopause."
The PMO has also taken note of the cost concerns raised by SJM, and brought it to the notice of the Ministry, “This vaccine is very expensive as per the study conducted by the International Health Policy program. A cost-benefit study for India shows that if the cost of per vaccinated girl exceeded US 3.30 dollar, vaccination alone would no longer be more efficient than only screening."
Alleging unfair promotion of the vaccine, Mahajan said, “The journal ‘Cancer’ described how authors from PGI Chandigarh falsified science published by others, in an attempt to show that $14/child for the vaccine is cost-effective.”
He further added that the various agencies have managed to introduce the vaccine in Punjab selectively, although it does not have the approval of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization.