Indore: Seven years after it was found that several doctors at the state-run Mahatma Gandhi Medical College (MGMC) were involved in unethical drug trial on unsuspecting patients, the Medical Council of India finally suspended the registration of eight doctors.
The Ethical Committee of MCI issued the order on Thursday to suspend the doctors including the superintendent and former superintendent for a period of three months.
Letters have been dispatched to the medical councils in Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh to bar these physicians from medical practice for three months.
Those who came under the MCI scanner include, Maharaja Yashwantrao Hospital (MYH) superintendent Dr VS Paul, former superintendent Dr Ramgulam Rajdan, Dr Anil Bharani and Dr Shish Patel of general medicines department, paediatricians Dr Hemant Jain, Dr Ujjawal Sardesai, Dr Pali Rastogi and Dr Abhay Paliwal.
Dr Sharad Thora, dean of MGMC Indore said that they have received a letter and action at the college would be initiated only when it is undertaken by the MP Medical Council.
In the past, two general physicians at MYH were blacklisted for six months in the case.
The matter raised a hue and cry across the health sector in 2010 after MCI was flooded with complaints of unethical drug trials. Both patients and whistleblowers alleged that these trials were undertaken on over 2,000 patients out of which 81 showed side effects and 35 allegedly died during the trials.
A case regarding these trials is subjudice at the Supreme Court. The Madhya Pradesh government in February 2012 had initiated a departmental probe against six doctors. Besides, the state government served a notice to then MGMC dean Dr Ashok Vajpayee for approving clinical trials without following the due procedure.
In October 2012, the Swasthya Adhikar Manch had alleged severe anomalies in clinical trials in MGMC. They filed a PIL with the Supreme Court and submitted incriminating documents.
One of the whistleblowers in the case, Dr Anand Rai welcomed the move saying justice was finally done to the victims. He claimed he had used an RTI to expose the trials that were carried out without the consent of patients. Dr Rai was also instrumental in exposing anomalies in pre-medical tests conducted by Vyapam.
A report tabled in Rajya Sabha in 2012 claimed that 2,163 patients died in India due to clinical trials since 2007 and out of these, 32 died at MGMC.
In a reply to Dr Rai’s RTI, the Drug Controller General of India’s (DGCI) office said that over 2,031 had died in clinical trials in India between 2008 and 2011. However, the DGCI had declined to identify centres where the 2,376 drug trials were carried out.