Leader of the opposition Dr. Denzil Douglas has spoken out this week about the Team Unity’s management of the investigation into the rogue herpes vaccine trial.
The trial, which took place in a private home in St. Kitts and Nevis in 2016, recently came to light as it was discovered the trial had been done outside of a hospital.
Twenty participants from the United States and the United Kingdom were flown to the twin-island nation, undergoing multiple injections of the vaccine during their stay.
Dr. Douglas has called the government’s investigation into the trial a “malicious and deliberate attempt to deceive the people.”
Further investigations have discovered that an illegal stem cell project, which took place at J. N. France General Hospital also took place on the island recently.
The stem cell trial was completed without the consent or knowledge of Dr. Patrick Marton, who was the chief medical officer at the time it took place.
The Public Health Act and various other legislation govern the importation of medicines into the country.
Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris announced the investigation into the herpes vaccine trial will be carried out by the St. Kitts and Nevis police force.
No investigation has been announced for the stem cell trial, as Dr. Harris has confirmed the Cabinet were aware of it and had approved it.
Dr. Douglas has said that according to the governing legislation, it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Health to investigate violations of its regulations.
“The key officers in the Ministry of Health who have the responsibility for coordinating and conducting such investigations are the Permanent Secretary and the Chief Medical Officer,” said Dr. Douglas.
It is a violation of Section 61 of the Constitution for the post of Permanent Secretary to be vacant.
Due to individuals and medicines crossing the border into St. Kitts and Nevis for the trial to take place, the Ministry of Health officers must be the ones to investigate.
The investigation would need to be supported by Immigration and Customs.
“The Office of Chief Medical Officer was bypassed in that the Ministers of Health and the Cabinet have handed over the investigation to the police,” Dr. Douglas said.
“If there is really going to be an investigation, then who really are conducting these investigations when there is no permanent secretary?”