Doctors Syndicate to investigate doctors who endorsed army Hep C device

Ahram Online , Tuesday 3 Feb 2015

At least one doctor is already being investigated, Doctors Syndicate council member tells Ahram Online

Physician and Major-General Ibrahim Abdel-Atti, the reserach team leader (left) stands next to members of research team working on the army's treatment devices (Photo: Official Facebook page of the Armed Forces research team)

Egypt's Doctors Syndicate has commenced disciplinary measures against members involved in advertising or promoting a device the army in 2013 said it had created to treat Hepatitis C.

The announcement of the development of the device faced criticism, especially after an army-set deadline to start treatment on June 2014 came and passed.

The army's medical corps said at the time further testing was needed and postponed the date of start of treatment another six months.

The army had also said the device would also cure AIDS.

"The Doctors Syndicate has started investigating doctors who took part in this crime, and is considering the necessary means to hold accountable everyone who took part in the crime of misleading the Egyptian people," read a statement issued on Sunday by the syndicate.

The syndicate slammed the device, saying it had not completed any of the necessary trials needed for any type of scientific research.

"The device has not been through the necessary stages of scientific hypothesis... laboratory experimentation, animal testing, then human trials, after which it should be presented at conferences to discuss efficacy versus risks. Finally, only if its efficacy is established, should the treatment be provided to the public."

After the army first spoke about the device, Hepatitis C patients actually abandoned their necessary, though notoriously tiring Interferon therapy in the hope of being treated by the military's new device, the syndicate said.

It called on doctors' who took part in endorsing the previously announced treatment course to apologise to the Egyptian people.

At least one doctor who has promoted the device on television is currently being investigated by the syndicate, and faces penalties ranging from admonition to permanent suspension from practice, Amr El-Shoura, a member of the Doctors Syndicate council, told Ahram Online.

El-Shoura expressed his disappointment that doctors under the auspices of the military would be shielded from such measures since, he said, proceedings against them would have to be referred to a military court.

In early 2014, the science advisor of then interim president Adly Mansour, Essam Heggy, ridiculed the device and called the affair a "scandal."

Hani El-Nazer, former president of Egypt's National Research Institute, said that while the Egyptian army issued no comment when the second deadline for testing the device recently passed, the army's medical committee had indicated that the results of new tests would be announced in May 2015.

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