Japanese docs didn't get consent for tests

July 29, 2007

The current and former chief surgeons at a Japanese hospital reportedly tested drugs on 48 breast cancer patients without their consent.

Government sources confirmed to the Kyodo news agency the incidents took place at Kobe City Medical Center General Hospital.

The unidentified physicians are said to have violated the health ministry's guidelines, which require doctors to advise patients in writing about the purposes and possible disadvantages of the clinical tests.

The doctors also are mandated to obtain the patients' signed approval before conducting the tests. Although the chief surgeon conducted the tests on 30 patients, no letters of consent from the patients were found, the sources told Kyodo.

His predecessor also conducted the tests on 19 patients, but only one letter of consent has been found, the news agency reported.

It is unclear what penalties the physicians face for violating the health ministry practices.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

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