April 21, 2024

A medical Madoff: massive research fraud in Massachusetts

21 academic papers may be fraudulent

Dr Scott S. ReubenA prominent Massachusetts anaesthesiologist allegedly fabricated the data for 21 academic papers, according to the hospital where he worked. Dr Scott S. Reuben, of Baystate Medical Center, in Springfield, published in several journals between 1996 and 2008. He reported favourably on the use of painkillers like Pfizer’s Bextra and Merck’s Vioxx — both since withdrawn — as well as Pfizer’s Celebrex and Lyrica. His lawyer cited unnamed extenuating circumstances and said that "Dr Reuben deeply regrets that this happened."

Dr Reuben’s work was quite influential in pain relief. Now the editor of Anesthesiology says that "these retractions clearly raise the possibility that we might be heading in wrong directions or toward blind ends in attempts to improve pain therapy." According to the New York Times, the reliability of dozens more of his articles is being questioned, and the common practice — supported by his studies — of giving patients aspirin-like drugs and neuropathic pain medicines after surgery instead of narcotics is now under a cloud. ~ Wall Street Journal, Mar 11; New York Times, Mar 10