Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Researcher with Ties to Pfizer Accused of Fraud

Dr. Scott S. Reuben, an anesthesiologist on the staff at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., and a former member of Pfizer's speakers' bureau "who helped pioneer new pain treatments that combined two of the company's major products[,] has been accused of perpetrating one of the biggest research frauds in medical history." In fact, he is "accused of fabricating study results in at least 21 articles and perhaps scores of others. The medical center that uncovered Reuben's fabrications after an audit came to the conclusion that the researcher had been dreaming up data - to fit apparently preconceived conclusions - for up to 13 years." Dr. Steven L. Shafer, professor of anesthesiology at Columbia University and editor-in-chief of the medical journal Anesthesia & Analgesia, said "I couldn't begin to understand why someone would do this. The odds of being caught are virtually 100 percent."

Reuben's data "helped establish support for a relatively new way of treating post-operative pain called multimodal analgesia that, under Reuben's approach, had as its linchpin the use of Pfizer's products Celebrex and Lyrica before and after surgery." A Baystate spokesperson said there are no indications that Pfizer had any part in Reuben's apparent fraud, and she didn't believe Pfizer's research funding involved a large amount of money. Pfizer, whose worldwide research-and-development headquarters are in New London, announced last month it will reveal next year the names of doctors who receive more than $500 annually from the company. Information on how much was paid to Reuben was not disclosed. Read more.

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