NRI doctor guilty of unethical tests on British patients
Mar 29, 2008 - 6:04:18 PM

London, March 29 - An NRI psychiatrist from Assam faces the sack after being found guilty of conducting unethical drug tests on mentally ill patients, according to reports Saturday.

The General Medical Council has found Tonmoy Sharma, a former lecturer at the prestigious Institute of Psychiatry in London, guilty of recruiting patients suffering from schizophrenia and Alzheimer's in unsolicited telephone calls, conducting unauthorised tests and misleading drug companies about his methods, a newspaper reported.

The verdict could not be independently verified but a spokeswoman for the GMC, a regulatory body, told IANS Saturday that newspaper reporting on the case has been 'accurate'.

A GMC panel on 'Fitness to Practice' has been hearing Sharma's case this week, she confirmed.

The Times said the GMC, which examined 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.

It quoted the GMC panel as concluding: 'The findings of the panel indicate serious failings of personal integrity and honesty, of good clinical research practice, as regards to potential welfare of patients and participants in ethical research ... which risks bringing the reputation of the medical profession into disrepute.

'The panel has found that the facts proved against you would not be insufficient to support a finding of serious professional misconduct.'

According to the GMC website, Sharma gained his MBBS from Dibrugarh University, Assam, in June 1987 and has been on Britain's register of general psychiatry since May 1996.

Sharma is a Clinical Lecturer at the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College, University of London, and a Principal Investigator undertaking research studies, the GMC said.

'The panel is satisfied that in acting the way you did, your intention was to conceal from each sponsor the fact that you were using the identical group of patients for their studies,' the panel report says.

'As a consequence, the patients were subjected to tests beyond those approved... The panel is satisfied that your conduct towards them - was dishonest. It was also unprofessional and not in the best interests of the patients.'

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