“Extenuating circumstances” for faking drug testing data?

March 20, 2009 | By | 3 Replies More

I don’t get it.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported that

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.

This fabrication is not surprising in light of the fact that Vioxx has now been shown to be of highly questionable effectiveness and based on real world use that has arguably caused tens of thousands of deaths–people who had heart attacks because they used Vioxx when they could have, instead, continued to use the extremely safe over-the-counter drug Naproxen.   But then comes the good part, a claim by Dr. Rueben’s attorney:

“Dr. Reuben deeply regrets that this happened,” said the doctor’s attorney, Ingrid Martin. “Dr. Reuben cooperated fully with the peer review committee. There were extenuating circumstances that the committee fairly and justly considered.” She declined to explain the extenuating circumstances.

There you have it.  There were “extenuating circumstances” for faking data in 21 medical studies.   I wonder what those “extenuating circumstances” were?  The desire to get rich by conniving with a dirty drug company (see the article for the evidence)?   Our did those “extenuating circumstances” include the lack of any sense of professional responsibility?   Or did those “extenuating circumstances” include sadistic impulses to endanger the lives of thousands of people?

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Category: Fraud, Health, hypocrisy, snake oil

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (3)

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  1. BeThatOne says:

    Is there a lawsuit concerning people that were or are taking the drug "Celebrex"?

  2. Niklaus Pfirsig says:

    Extenuating circumstances….

    It may not be money. There seems to be an incredible amount of peer pressure and political influence in medical research. In the US, an many other countries, the research is funded by the pharmaceutical corporations, and generally any researcher who does not produce result in agreement with their corporate sponsor soon finds them selves out of a job, and ridiculed by those that get continued support of the corporations.

    Many researchers are also physicians and are forced into trading some integrity in order to continue their practice where some good may be accomplished. I think most doctors are sincere in their Hippocratic oath. Corporations, however, don't seem bound by any sense of honor.

    Anyone with a little background in biochemistry can see why COX-2 inhibitors will jack up the blood pressure, while having about one third to one half the analgesic effect of naproxen sodium or asprin or other NSAIDS that inhibit a group of enzymes. Unfortunatly, most people have no understanding of biochemistry.

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