Delhi HC allows stem cell therapy to para athlete

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court, in an interim relief, has allowed continuance of stem cell treatment to a para-athlete, who was suffering from muscular degeneration.

Justice Vibhu Bakhru’s interim order came on a plea filed by para-athlete Aditya Bhatia undergoing the treatment. But it was stopped following new rules that only licensed companies or clinics can provide it.

Bhatia told the court the Health and Family Welfare Ministry has implemented New Drugs and Clinical Trial Rules 2019, which has halted his stem cell therapy.

Bhatia is suffering from a rare disease Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy, known as the FSHD, which is characterised as a wasting and weakening of shoulder, arms, face, abdomen and leg muscles.

“In the aforesaid circumstances, this court considers it apposite to direct, as an interim measure, that the treatment being provided to the petitioner will not be impeded,” the judge said in an order dated April 15.

The court also observed the counsel for the government submitted that there was no clarity as to whether the treatment being provided to the petitioner came within the new rules as no details had been submitted by the clinic.

The court also said the authority concerned should examine whether the treatment or products administered to Bhatia prima facie came within the scope of the expression ‘new drugs’ as defined under the rule of New Drugs and Clinical Trial Rules, 2019, and communicate its view to him and the clinic.

The court said if the products came within the scope of the definition ‘new drugs’, the concerned clinic administering it would require to take approval.