Universal Access to Free Medicines and Free Diagnostics: Complexities and Prosp

JSA LogoPrayas logoOxfam India logo

Sama being an integral part of Jan Swasthya Abhiyan (JSA) participated in the two day event  (21st – 22nd January, 2015) on ‘Universal Access to Free Medicine and Free Diagnostics’ organized by JSA, Prayas and Oxfam India at India International Centre, Lodhi Road.

The event reflected upon various issues of public health particularly in the context of providing ‘access to medicines’ situation in India with a special focus on free and universal access to essential medicines by the government. The discussions also deliberated on the emerging challenges in the Indian pharma industry and its implication for domestic production and supply of generic medicines. The members of JSA also participated in the event. There were JSA representatives from approximately 8 states, who shared the implementation status of free drugs and diagnostic schemes in their respective states.

The event was concluded with a brainstorming session on the emerging framework for future action. The discussion also focused  around initiating and strengthening free medicines mechanism and identifying spaces for future action.


Apex Court Raps Centre Over Clinical Trials
TNN | Jan 14, 2015, 04.37 AM IST  

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Centre to respond what action it intended to take on the parliamentary standing committee’s report on irregularity in clinical trials of cervical cancer vaccine saying that government should be concerned about health of its people.
“It should be the concern of UOI that health of people is preserved. Don’t leave the matter to court. It is for the government to find out a way,” a bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra said adding, “If Parliamentary Committee has done something then it is obligatory for the executive government to take action on the report”.

The court asked the government to file an affidavit stating what procedure should be followed in clinical trial of drugs and who should be held responsible for death or adverse effect on the people who underwent trial.

“File affidavit stating protocol to be followed for getting consent of people to undergo trial and the process to find out what is the effect of vaccination and whose liability is it to pay compensation,” a bench headed by Dipak Misra said.

The bench raised questions on why clinical trials of a cervical cancer vaccine were allowed and why particular states and districts were chosen for the trial.

It directed the states of Gujarat and Telangana, which had granted permission for the trial, to file affidavit on how many people died or suffered side effects due to the trial.

Earlier, the court had summoned the files relating to grant of permission for conducting clinical trial of the vaccine in 2012. It had also directed the Centre to produce all files relating to grant of licence for trial of the vaccine to prevent human papyloma virus (HPV) which causes cervical cancer.

IJME 5th National Bioethics Conference, Bangalore



Indian Journal of Medical Ethics (IJME) organized 5th National Bioethics Conference in Bangalore. The event was co-hosted and organized by SOCHARA, St. John’s National Academy of Health Sciences, Society for Community Health Awareness, Research and Action, and The Forum for Medical Ethics Society (FMES), Mumbai.

Theme of 5th National Bioethics Conference:

After much deliberation with individuals and organizations in India and abroad, it was identified that the subject of corruption in health care and research practices was an important issue and should be the theme of fifth national bioethics conference. In accordance with the theme of the event, Sama presented 5 papers in the parallel sessions of the event and 2 plenaries.


The event commenced on Wedneday, 10th December 2014 with pre-conference colloquium. During this event Sama spoke on the theme of “Ethical Perspective on Gender in Health”. On Thursday, 11th December 2014, 2 papers were presented on the theme “Ethics and Reproductive Health”. The first paper was presented by Ms. Sarojini NB titled “Dying to give birth: The case of Yuma Sherpa and the Unethical Medical Terrain of Assisted Reproductive Technologies”. On the issues of corruption in health care and research Ms. Sarojini NB and Mr. Vaibhao presented a paper on “Corruption in the Practices of Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO)”: Findings from 59th Parliamentary Standing Committee Report on Functioning of CODSCO (May 2012).

On Friday, 12th December 2014, plenary was addressed by Ms. N.B. Sarojini on “Integrity in access to public health services with a specific focus on gender and reproductive health”. Sama also presented two papers on ‘Ethics and Gender’. The first paper was presented by Ms. Deepa V. and Ms. Nazia Hassan on “Interrogating Health Care Response to Gender Based violence: Implication for Health Care Integrity”. Second paper was presented by Ms. Sunita Chowdhury and Ms. Simran Sawhney on “Enhancing Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) through Health Systems Engagement”.

On the last day of the event, Saturday 13th December 2014, Ms. Sarojini NB presented a testimony on the unethical practices in clinical trials particularly in the context of HPV vaccines.

For details on the programmes, please visit the following website:


“Camp of Wrongs: The Mourning Afterwards” – A fact finding report on Sterilisation deaths in Bilaspur by Sama Resource Group for Women and Health, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan and National Alliance for Maternal Health and Human Rights

Camp of Wrongs

The recent  tragic deaths of the 13 women, all in their 20s or 30s and the critical condition of the 70 other women, following procedures of laparoscopic sterilisation in Bilaspur district, Chhattisgarh,  have flagged clear violations of ethical and quality norms in the health care system.

Following these appalling incidents, a team of women’s and health rights activists from Sama, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan and National Alliance for Maternal Health and Human Rights from Delhi and Chhattisgarh initiated a fact finding towards exploring and unravelling the gross violations that had taken place.
​The fact finding teammet and interacted with families of women who had lost their lives, as well as with families of those who were in hospitals following complications. During the fact finding, government officials, doctors, Mitanins and Mitanin Trainers were also met with.
The findings based on these interactions and observations, the emerging issues as well as recommendations have been documented in a report titled: Camp of Wrongs.

Following is the link to the report

Camp of Wrongs – The Mourning Afterwards

Sama Zubaan’s latest release “Reconfiguring Reproduction: Feminist Health Perspectives on Assisted Reproductive Technologies”

Reconfiguring Reproduction

Book Title: “Reconfiguring Reproduction: Feminist Health Perspectives on Assisted Reproductive Technologies”
ISBN: 9789383074525
Edited By: Sarojini N and Vrinda Marwah
Authors: Betsy Hartmann, Sarah Sexton, Renate Klein, Sarojini N, Hedva Eyal, Marcy Darnovsky, Judy Norsigian, Shree Mulay, Madeline Boscoe, Jyotsna Agnihotri Gupta, Young-Gyung Paik, Vrinda Marwah, Deepa Venkatachalam, Preeti Nayak, Tarang Mahajan and Anjali Shenoi.
Published by: Sama and Zubaan
Price: Rs. 595/ US $ 35.00

Assisted reproduction is a complex phenomenon, located at the intersection of patriarchy, medicalization and commerce. These technologies create both challenges and opportunities, and responses to them have sought to balance questions of ethics, rights and politics. The essays in this volume map the journey of ARTs in different countries, examining the global industry and the challenges it poses in the context of markets, and look at regulatory framework in diverse setting. Together they bring a feminist lens to the examination of the now-established ART industry. Sama’s long standing work provides a special focus on India: the spread and feature of the industry, the gendered nature of the burden and treatment of infertility, the destabilization of the family as we know it, and feminist debates around surrogacy that reassess ideas of agency and commodification.