Top Pain Scientist Fabricated Data in Studies, Hospital Says
By Keith J. Winstein and David Armstrong
Wall Street Journal
March 11, 2009
A prominent Massachusetts anesthesiologist allegedly fabricated 21 medical studies that claimed to show benefits from painkillers like Vioxx and Celebrex, according to the hospital where he worked.
[The doctor, Scott S. Reuben, M.D., is Director of the Acute Pain Service and Professor of Anesthesiology and Pain Medicine at Baystate Medical Center and the Tufts University School of Medicine.]
The hospital has asked the medical journals to retract the 21 studies, some of which reported favorable results from the use of painkillers like Pfizer's Bextra and Merck's Vioxx -- both since withdrawn -- as well as Pfizer's Celebrex and Lyrica. Dr. Reuben's research work also claimed positive findings for Wyeth's antidepressant Effexor XR as a pain killer. And he wrote to the Food and Drug Administration, urging the agency not to restrict the use of many of the painkillers he studied, citing his own data on their safety and effectiveness.
Dr. Reuben had been a paid speaker on behalf of Pfizer's medicines, and it paid for some of his research.
[Jacques E. Chelly, the head of acute interventional postoperative pain service at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center] added that the situation has prompted his hospital to review the protocols it uses to treat patients for pain, because Dr. Reuben's work was so influential in establishing them. He said the hospital was now conducting its own study to verify the efficacy of drugs that Dr. Reuben claimed were effective painkillers.
Read the full article here
Moral of the story: Don't believe that everything your doctor reads and does is right. Can't believe that this huge conflict of interest passed unnoticed by journal editors.
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