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New twist to male contraceptive controversy

By Our Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI OCT. 22. The controversy over the indigenously developed first-ever male one-time injectible contraceptive, Risug, has taken a new turn with the Union Health Ministry today alleging that the scientist involved in the development was not cooperating in resolving the issue.

Speaking to presspersons, Prasada Rao, Secretary, Department of Family Welfare, said the scientist, S.K. Guha, was not handing over the urine and other samples of the volunteers, who were undergoing clinical trials with the contraceptive, for analysis by independent agencies.

A meeting, held in July, and attended among others by Dr. Guha, had decided on referring the samples for independent analysis following a finding that the urine samples of several of the volunteers contained `albumin', raising doubts about the safety aspects of the contraceptive since albumin is generally found in urine when there was some malfunctioning of the kidney.

The tests were to be conducted at the CSIR's Central Drug Research Institute and the Industrial Toxicology Research Centre, both located in Lucknow, and considered to be among centres having the best facilities for such tests.

Rejecting reports that the Health Ministry was trying to scuttle the development of the contraceptive to favour a similar study which was underway abroad, Mr. Rao said Dr. Guha himself had participated in the July meeting and had agreed to refer the samples for analysis.

In addition, Dr. Guha had also attended the meeting held on the issue earlier this month under the chairmanship of the Union Health Minister, Shatrugan Sinha, and which had reiterated the decision.

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