Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Doctor Fakes Research and Goes to Jail

A prominent 51 year old anesthesiologist pled guilty to falsifying research on the analgesic medications Celebrex and Vioxx for post-op pain managment.  He was sentenced in Massachusetts federal court to 6 months in prison and given hefty fines to be paid to the pharmaceutical companies who financed his research and paid him to promote their drugs.

Dr. Scott Reuben just plain faked the results.  He reported in two published articles that he had treated 200 patients in a trial - 100 with placebo and 100 with celecoxib (Celebrex).  He simply made up the findings and never enrolled any patients at all.  Multiple medical journals have retracted more than 20 articles by Dr. Reuben containing faked data on a number of pharmaceutical drugs.

Besides the faked research he spoke frequently at medical conferences and continuing medical education events about using Celebrex and Vioxx in combination with other analgesics to reduce postoperative pain.  The pharmaceutical companies reimburse their expert speakers very well and he will be repaying $361,932 to Merck and $296,557 to Pfizer.

Dr. Reuben's attorney stated that an undiagnosed bipolar disorder was the cause of his misdeeds. 

13 comments:

KM said...

Did they take away his medical licensee? Or at least I hope for part of his probation he can't ever be involved in any more research but as time goes on that might be difficult to control out side the area where is was more known.

Marta said...

I am sick of hearing criminals blame their actions on Bipolar Disorder. My father in law, sister in law, and son have bipolar. I have educated myself about this disorder and of course witnessed it first hand. Bipolar sufferers, when manic..give away money they have and spend money they don't have,maxing out their credit cards. They do NOT carry out wicked lying schemes to obtain money. They generally have a devil may care attitude towards money, convinced that they are on the verge of fame and riches that they will use to better all mankind. If they end up on the wrong side of the law, it is generally because they got beligerant and violent when someone disagreed with them and their grandiose actions.

Mrs/Dr. T said...

Sadly, I think this happens all too often. Maybe not to the extent of this person, but having favorable research results is often necessary to receive research funding and paid speaking engagements (and in the case of industry, career advancement and salary bonuses). Over the years, I've seen scientists "ignore" the data of a few subjects to gain the result they desire. I've also seen scientists introduce confounding factors into their study design to increase the odds that the end result will be their desired outcome. Luckily, I think these folks are few. (At least I hope)

stop smoking help said...

Did he get this idea from watching the Fugative? He should have learned his lesson from that movie.

Medically, there isn't too much worse than falsifying medical research. Think of the lives that were affected across the globe as a result of his "work".

I always had a saying for my patients, if you lie to me, than I'm going to end up lying to you because of the info. you're trying to pass along. I never really thought about it going in the opposite direction.

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