Police suspect 12 doctors of conducting illegal experiments on hundreds of geriatric patients, and have arrested four of them, the head of the investigations department at the Public Security Ministry, Chief Superintendent Meir Cohen, said yesterday.
Cohen told a meeting of the Knesset Labor and Welfare Committee that police have interrogated suspects who work or worked at two hospitals: Hartzfeld Geriatric Hospital in Gedera and Kaplan Hospital in Rehovot. The suspected offenses include aggravated assault, abusing the helpless, fraud and breach of trust and forging the required informed consent forms. Cohen said the suspects would likely be charged with violating Health Ministry regulations as well.
While the main matter under investigation is illegal clinical studies at these hospitals, police are also investigating the fraudulent receipt of a medical specialist degree and obstructing an investigation.
In the coming months, the Health Ministry will submit to both the cabinet and the Knesset a bill on human clinical studies. The frequent changes of government caused delays in approving the bill, the ministry's director general, Prof. Avi Yisraeli, said yesterday.
All the experiments in question were suspended and the investigation was transferred to the police upon publication of the State Comptroller Report.
The committee called on the Health Ministry to expedite legislation governing clinical experiments on humans, and ensure they conform to Helsinki Committee principles and ministry regulations.