An investigation is under way to look into unethical human clinical trials a pharmaceutical company allegedly conducted at a private hospital in Jaipur. Trials for an osteo-ortho drug were allegedly conducted on nearly two dozen people from Rajashan’s Churu and Bharatpur districts, PTI reported. Their health deteriorated after they were administered the new drug.

The Drug Controller General of India said on Saturday that the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation has sent a three-member team to Jaipur to investigate the matter. Rajasthan Health Minister Kalicharan Saraf also set up a three-member panel to look into the alleged trials. “Action will be taken, if lapses are found,” Saraf said.

The clinical trials were conducted on labourers from Churu and Bharatpur, News18 reported. One of them told the news channel they were paid Rs 500 each for the trial. Twenty-one of them were admitted to hospital as their health deteriorated after they were administered the drug on March 19. The drug was meant only for animal testing, according to a preliminary investigation.

The committee set up by the government visited the Jaipur hospital on Saturday, but the “principal investigator and patients enrolled in the clinical trials were not available at the site”, said Dr Ravi Prakash Sharma, who is heading the panel. “We have asked the hospital staff to provide necessary documents related to the trial,” he told PTI.