Judges demand answers after children die in controversial cancer vaccine trial in India
- Tribal girls were given shots of cervical cancer vaccines during trial
- Children given Merck's Gardasil and Cervarix vaccines
- Petitioners also asked judges to investigate trials of new drug Gardasil 9
- Drug has allegedly caused side-effects in children as young as nine
- Investigation claims children were used as unwitting human guinea pigs
- Supreme Court has given the government one month to provide answers
Judges in India's Supreme Court have demanded answers after children died during a controversial cervical cancer vaccine trial.
Young tribal girls received shots of pharmaceutical company Merck's Gardasil vaccine and Cervarix, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline.
The vaccines are given to girls as young as nine in many countries - including the UK and the US - to protect against the human papilloma virus, one of the major causes of cervical cancer.
But the Indian court yesterday heard a challenge by campaigners who claim the study - funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - failed to obtain the informed consent of the children or their parents.
They say that a 'study' carried out for the foundation by a US organisation was in fact an illegal drugs trial.
The petitioners have also asked judges to look into the way trials were conducted into Merck's new cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil 9.
A MailOnline investigation published earlier this month uncovered claims that children as young as nine suffered side-effects after being used as unwitting human guinea pigs for the new drug.
Gardasil 9, which is expected to be worth £1.2 billion a year in sales, has already been approved for use in the US and could be available in the UK later in the year.
At a hearing of India's Supreme Court in Delhi yesterday judges expressed frustration that the country's government had failed to provide answers to what had happened during the earlier trials of the original Gardasil and Cervarix.