With thanks to the Journal of Medical Ethics Med Ethics doi:10.1136/jme.2011.043133. 17.5.2011. R Grant Steen, President, MediCC, Medical Communications Consultants, LLC, 103 Van Doren Place, Chapel Hill NC 27517, USA; firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: Background Clinical papers so flawed that they are eventually retracted may put patients at risk. Patient risk could arise in a retracted primary study or in any secondary study that draws ideas or inspiration from a primary study.
Methods: To determine how many patients were put at risk, we evaluated 788 retracted English-language papers published from 2000 to 2010, describing new research with humans or freshly derived human material. These primary papers—together with all secondary studies citing them—were evaluated using ISI Web of Knowledge. Excluded from study were 468 basic science papers not studying fresh human material; 88 reviews presenting older data; 22 case reports; 7 papers retracted for journal error and 23 papers unavailable on Web of Knowledge. Overall, 180 retracted primary papers (22.8%) met the inclusion criteria. Subjects enrolled and patients treated in 180 primary studies and 851 secondary studies were combined.
Results: Retracted papers were cited over 5000 times, with 93% of citations being research related, suggesting that ideas promulgated in retracted papers can influence subsequent research. Over 28 000 subjects were enrolled—and 9189 patients were treated—in 180 retracted primary studies. Over 400 000 subjects were enrolled—and 70 501 patients were treated—in 851 secondary studies which cited a retracted paper. Papers retracted for fraud (n=70) treated more patients per study (p<0.01) than papers retracted for error (n=110).
Conclusions: Many patients are put at risk by retracted studies. These are conservative estimates, as only patients enrolled in published clinical studies were tallied.
See A key player in stoking this Swine Flu hysteria was Dr Iain Stephenson, a Consultant at University Hospital of Leicester NHS Trust who has been found guilty of vaccine research fraud on a grand scale by the General Medical Council (GMC).
See Thirteen per cent of scientists or doctors have said they know of colleagues who have fabricated data in order to get research published. More than one in ten (13%) scientists or doctors have witnessed colleagues intentionally altering or fabricating data to get published or during their research, a poll suggests. The survey of almost 2,800 experts in the UK also found 6% knew of possible research misconduct at their institution that has not been properly investigated. The poll, for the British Medical Journal (BMJ), is being presented at a meeting aimed at tackling research misconduct in the UK. 13 January 2012
See Mental scores decline precipitously at 30 months after anthrax vaccine, but CDC spins study to say vaccine safe Thursday, January 12, 2012
http://www.theoneclickgroup.co.uk/news.php?id=6732#newspost Patient No. 28665 was helping a Chesterfield company test a drug dubbed the “female Viagra” but stopped showing up for exams in December 2007. That didn’t stop a staffer of the company, PPS Clinical Research STL, from claiming that six months later the patient came in for an exam, was diagnosed with medical conditions, had undergone tests and even had given a urine sample. That admission was made in the company’s guilty plea to a federal felony charge of obstructing a proceeding of a federal agency. The drug the company helped test, aimed at women who suffered from an unexplained lack of sexual desire, never made it to market. As part of the plea, PPS admitted that it “corruptly influenced, obstructed, and impeded” an inspection by the Food and Drug Administration by providing false patient records in May 2010. During the trials, the drug’s manufacturer faulted PPS for failing to have a trained investigator conduct some exams, for back dating records and for failing to properly oversee one patient’s selection for the study, according to prosecutors. Boehringer did not respond to emails seeking comment.
http://www.theoneclickgroup.co.uk/news.php?id=6610#newspost A well-known psychologist in the Netherlands whose work has been published widely in professional journals falsified data and made up entire experiments, an investigating committee has found. Experts say the case exposes deep flaws in the way science is done in a field, psychology, that has only recently earned a fragile respectability.
See Reporting of Conflicts of Interest in Meta-analyses of Trials of Pharmacological Treatments. Michelle Roseman, BA; Katherine Milette, BSc; Lisa A. Bero, PhD; James C. Coyne, PhD; Joel Lexchin, MD; Erick H. Turner, MD; Brett D. Thombs, PhD. JAMA. 2011;305(10):1008-1017. doi: 10.1001/jama.2011.257