Indian Origin Doctor can Be Sacked for Unethical Tests on Mentally Ill Patients

by VR Sreeraman on  March 30, 2008 at 10:36 AM General Health News   - G J E 4
Indian Origin Doctor can Be Sacked for Unethical Tests on Mentally Ill Patients
Dr. Tanmoy Sharma, a former senior lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, is expected to be sacked this weekend after being found guilty of conducting unethical drug tests on mentally ill patients.

The General Medical Council has found that Dr. Sharma had wrongly recruited patients in unsolicited telephone calls without contacting their nurses or carers.

On a number of occasions, Dr. Sharma failed to obtain approval from proper ethical committees before testing drugs on patients.

After being paid to conduct the tests by drug companies, he failed to seek proper approval from medical bodies and then misled the companies about his methods, The Times reported.

The paper said that Dr. Sharma not only lied about his academic credentials, but was also instrumental in being the leader of a global research fraud in the pharmaceutical sector involving theft of pharmaceutical drug on Schizophrenic patients.

The General Medical Council ruling, which examined Dr. Sharma's research over 10 years, could force the pharmaceutical industry to re-examine the way in which research on psychiatric drugs is commissioned and conducted.

A report by the GMC's Fitness To Practise panel concluded this week that Dr Sharma had put mentally unwell patients at risk and ethical rules had been wilfully flouted.

Dr. Sharma (42), who trained in India, was a prominent psychiatrist who often appeared on the BBC and wrote books on mental illness.

Leading drug companies such as Novartis and Sanofi paid him from 1996 to conduct trials of anti-psychotic drugs on patients with schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease.

He worked as a consultant psychiatrist for the South London and Maudsley NHS Trust and recruited patients in Kent and parts of the capital for the research, according to reports.

His position at the institute helped him to secure funding, said to be almost one million pounds, from five drug companies. Most of the money was channelled through a private company that he had set up called Psychmed.

The Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry asked the GMC to examine his conduct two years ago after concerns that he had failed to obtain proper approval from ethical committees to conduct the tests.

These approvals are vital in any trial to protect the patients taking part.

Source: ANI

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