Bhopal: Facing flak over the controversial drug trials on children and mentally challenged patients in Indore, the Madhya Pradesh government has slapped a fine of Rs 5,000 each on 12 government doctors for their failure to inform about the trials.

The Madhya Pradesh Nursing Homes and Clinical Establishment (registration and license) Amendment Act 2003 requires doctors and hospitals to inform state health authorities about the drug trials conducted by them. A government spokesman said that instructions have been issued to ban further drug trials in the state's medical colleges and hospitals from October 25, 2010 and soon fresh guidelines will be issued in this regard.

According to an official statement, though the state government has no power to monitor/regulate drug/clinical trials as per Schedule 'Y' of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1945 but the government had asked the Health Commissioner and Chief Medical Officer of Indore to get drug trial-related information from 38 doctors of the Public Health and Family Welfare Department.

Subsequently, the CMO of Indore has sought details from the president of the Nursing Homes Association and president of the Indian Medical Association. However, the doctors who had conducted the controversial drug trials have been claiming immunity from furnishing any details of drug or vaccine trials citing provisions of the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1945.

According to rules, the identity of patients put under clinical trials should be kept secret. And the doctors involved in the case are now citing this provision. So in this situation the state government cannot do direct investigation, which would involve identifying the patients.

However, the action of the government has failed to convince experts. They feel that the government is trying to shed its responsibility by just imposing nominal fines on the doctors.

The experts also allege that government is not interested in knowing about the doctors who conducted trails and made money worth crores of rupees.