Date: 28th August, 2017
Basseterre, ST KITTS (KYSS) — News of the latest medical ethics scandal has again rocked the federation.
On June 13th last year, former Chief Medical Officer Dr. Patrick Martin exposed an illegal stem cell operation that had been set up clandestinely in the private ward of the Joseph N. France General Hospital.
The former CMO explained that that research facility was in direct violation of the federation’s medical act as well as the ethical codes governing the medical research field.
Shortly after his revelation, he was sent on pre-retirement leave.
News of another international scandal emerged last weekend where it is believed that there was an unethical human study conducted in the country which involved the testing of an experimental herpes vaccine.
The testing occurred in here in St. Kitts and Nevis from April to August, 2016.
“News Sunday” based in Washington D.C. reported that defying US safety protections for human trials, a group of wealthy libertarians, including prominent Donald Trump supporter and adviser, Peter Thiel, backed the testing of the experimental vaccine in the federation.
Thiel is said to have invested us $7-million into the ongoing vaccine research.
According to Rational Vaccines, the company that oversaw the trial, most of the 20 participants were Americans with herpes who were flown to St. Kitts several times to be vaccinated during the first phase.
The experiment has been described as “patently unethical” as the study’s researchers failed to acquire the necessary safety permissions from the Food and Drug Administration and an institutional review board for a human experiment of this nature.
As details of the testing came to light, questions were raised about how such a risky and illegal study was allowed by local authorities.
The concern is greater as the resulting vaccine, ‘Theravax’, has been available for sale in St. Kitts and Nevis as of August 1st, 2017.
SKN NEWS NOW made several attempts to reach Chief Medical Officer, Dr Hazel Laws, to gain further insight into the matter, however all our calls went unanswered.