Thursday, February 18, 2010

Honest Science at its finest - Former Pfizer representative charged with health care fraud

Former Pfizer representative charged with health care fraud

Dr. Scott S. Reuben, a former member of Pfizer Inc.’s speakers’ bureau accused last year of perpetrating one of the biggest research frauds in medical history, was charged today in a federal court in Boston with falsifying medical research studies.

Reuben, formerly chief of acute pain at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., faces up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz accused Reuben of accepting a $75,000 grant from Pfizer to research the effectiveness of pain medication Celebrex for a 2005 study in which no patients were actually enrolled. Prosecutors allege that Reuben made up the data, which he subsequently published in the medical journal "Anesthesia & Analgesia."

The data supported the conclusion that Celebrex was effective in helping post-operative patients who had received a particular type of knee surgery on the anterior cruciate ligament. "Anesthesia & Analgesia" later had to retract 10 papers written by Reuben, and medical experts at the time said at least 21 journal articles by the anesthesiologist appeared to be fabricated.

Reuben’s studies had been considered pioneering at the time they were published. His data had supported the use of two of Pfizer’s major products — Celebrex and Lyrica — in combination to treat certain types of post-operative pain.

Pfizer said it had supported five of Reuben’s research initiatives. Pfizer, which declined at the time to reveal how much it paid Reuben over the years to be part of its speakers’ bureau, said the company played no part in the fraud.

Last March, Reuben was dismissed from his position at Baystate Medical Center after an audit revealed he had been inventing data for as many as 13 years.

This doesn't surprise me at all.  There is so much fraud in science that it is just plain sad.  The primary goal of most pharmaceutical companies is to make lots of money, not necessarily to treat any particular disease.  Since patents run out after a period of time, pharmaceutical companies need to continually push new drugs for the same diseases, even when previous drugs work perfectly fine.  Take birth control for example, the pills invented decades ago work perfectly fine, but they no longer rake in huge profits for drug companies, hence the creation of things such as Yaz that you see commercials for.

Some of these new drugs don't really have any effect on curing anything, hence the need for publishing fraudulent research studies "proving" the efficacy of their new drugs.  

But fraud in science doesn't just stop with drug companies, many scientists in public and private institutions also commit fraud.  The environment in science today favors arrogant, cheating personality types that are obsessed with keeping their peers down.  Some of the biggest asses I know are scientists, they won't hesitate to lie, cheat and steal just to get ahead of others or publish their paper in a "top tier" journal.  Clout and politics lands your paper in these journals.  Peer review is completely broken.  Is it really peer review when you can actually request certain reviewers or reject other reviewers for your work?  That's not honest.   The other problem is during the grant review process, competitors get to review your grants, and oftentimes they steal proprietary ideas by having their own lab perform the experiments, while at the same time rejecting your grant.  

Science is completely broken, and I will delve into the Global Warming Hoax and the Suppression of half-century electrogravitics research another time.


Veracity said...

Not really surprising. I remember I found an article about antidepressants. . Yeah...they're not exactly full of truth since a lot of drugs don't even help. Very marketable...but not that helpful.

In fact, for anti-depressants, the thing that makes them more effective are side-effects. If patients feel a LOT of side effects, then obviously the pills must be having a huge impact on their depression.

Veracity said...

The link didn't show up on the last comment for some reason.

Anonymous said...

Nice blog!

I'm an electrical engineer and have lost count of all the backstabbing that goes on during a design process. Political, dishonest and viscous work environments become counter productive efforts and result in projects that run over budget.

It seems that a great deal of the hostile environment is due to perceived and real competition for project funds. Unfortunately, a lot of funds get gobbled up with bureaucracy, paperwork and waste before the actual design work begins.

So what is to blame? It seems like over the years that so much attention to price controls and regulation (they go hand in hand) have been slowly strangling productive efforts and honest evaluations.

Anonymous said...

It's about time to update again.

Pattaya said...

I think it would be wise not to trust any claims made by pharm companies. Profit b4 cure should be their slogan.

admin_nds said...

Please do a post on electrogravitics research. Propulsion systems research hasn't been as available to us mere mortals as much as some of us would like.

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