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March 11, 2009

The Jayson Blair of biomedical research, exposed

A leading proponent of non-narcotic analgesics has confessed to fabricating 21 journal articles since 1996:

In what may be among the longest-running and widest-ranging cases of academic fraud, one of the most prolific researchers in anesthesiology has admitted that he fabricated much of the data underlying his research, said a spokeswoman for the hospital where he works.

The researcher, Dr. Scott S. Reuben, an anesthesiologist in Springfield, Mass., who practiced at Baystate Medical Center, never conducted the clinical trials that he wrote about in 21 journal articles dating from at least 1996, said Jane Albert, a spokeswoman for Baystate Health.

The reliability of dozens more articles he wrote is uncertain, and the common practice — supported by his studies — of giving patients aspirinlike drugs and neuropathic pain medicines after surgery instead of narcotics is now being questioned. [NYT]

Between 2002 and 2007, Dr. Reuben's research was underwritten by the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, according to the story.


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Wonder how that will impact the ongoing Vioxx lawsuits. Is there anything tying him to Merck, or did he do this completely independently?

It's not the only thing that's going on. Some people just use the wrong cell lines. One study concludes that "Many of these human cell lines have been widely used in the thyroid cancer field for the past 20 yr and are not only redundant, but not of thyroid origin."

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