Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
Army guinea pigs

Are people in the armed forces guinea pigs? The answer should be, but it seems that personnel of the Nepali army are to be used as such, because of the greed of higher-ups in the army and some army doctors. A hospital in America has invented a new vaccine for hepatitis C and is going to test this new drug on the armed forces of Nepal. The army has agreed. Surprisingly, this very drug was tested on some people in Patan exactly a year ago. In the earlier experiments, the testing was started secretly but later, to get more people involved, the authorities announced that they were testing a new drug and people who wanted to be experimented on could contact the authorities. People came to know of the side effects and so no one volunteered. Public outrage was vocal, and the tests were stopped. A person who had come to study this new drug while it was being tested said that a total of 44 people were tested and two of them exhibited side effects?their faces started to swell up slowly. The company carrying out the tests agreed to compensate those volunteers, and also provide help to people manifesting side effects. Now the company has agreed to provide treatment free of cost to all army people who develop side effects. Army sources state that although the company has promised to treat all army personnel who develop side effects, it most probably will not.

Sources say that prior to carrying out these tests in Nepal, they had been carried them out on 88 very poor Americans, and 44 people in Patan. The questions now arise, How could an experiment stopped a year ago be carried out again? What are the benefits to the army? On a personal basis, who benefits? Sources in the army say that the army chief was also in favour of using his people as guinea pigs. Four doctors at the army hospital are preparing to carry out the tests. They have not told army personnel on whom these experiments are to be carried out.

When asked about the earlier experiments, the reason they were stopped, and the resumption of testing, this time on the armed forces, Dr Kishor Jung Rana of the army hospital completely evaded the questions and said if more information was required, the army hospital should be contacted. In fact, he did all he could to evade the questions and referred all enquiries to the hospital. The army chief, as his reward for permitting the tests, will be treated to a long vacation in America very soon.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)