Cairo– Egypt’s newly appointed Minister of Health, Hala Zayed is setting up an investigatory committee of cancer doctors to look into claims that children have been improperly used in clinical drug tests at Hospital 57357.
In an April story titled “On Trial” that aired on Deutsche Welle ARIJ reporters A’li A-Sattuhi and A’azza Moghazi described how Egyptian and international companies tested drugs on sick children without their knowledge or consent. No law made that outright illegal.
In response to the piece, the Egyptian Parliament passed new legislation. The investigation stems from earlier complaints about the hospital made in a court case.
Ahmad Abdulrahman Shaqeer, a professor of pediatric medicine at Mansoura University will head a five-member committee to explore what happened at the hospital.
In “On Trial” doctor Manal Hamadi E’Sayed maintained that hospital administrators had approved the testing. The hospital’s director and his aide, however, ducked reporter questions about this.
The TV disclosure of the tests was at first criticized and berated, but a local Egyptian newspaper later reported about the concern of parliamentarian Fayqah Fahim over nine tests done at the hospital on children as detailed by the journalists.
In addition, Egyptian writer Wahid Hamed began a media campaign against the hospital, demanding anyone who’d used children as guinea pigs be sent into court.
The law passed by Paliament in mid-May does not require publication of collected data, but requires it researchers to submit all their documents to the Supreme Council of Medical Research Ethics. The law received much backlash particularly from university administrators and professors who rejected the role of the Supreme Council in overseeing research