Top Pain Scientist Fabricated Data in Studies, Hospital Says

From the WSJ:
"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."

For me this amounts to Captain Renault exclaiming: "I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!" Having seen what goes on inside some publishing institutions, and how common conflicts of interest are swept under the carpet, the crime is in getting caught.

If patients were to find out just how ineffective and dangerous many of the pills they are taking can be, they would be outraged; along with all the Captain Renault's of the medical community running around in their private airplanes, homes in the Catskills, and speed boats at Nantucket, that were had by "consulting". Or in the firing or replacing of editors and writers who ask the question, "how involved was Dr. So-n-so with the actual studies?"

This is a billion dollar business and as Steven Pressfield said on p.26 of his book, The War of Art:

"Our boss used to tell us: Invent a disease. Come up with the disease, he said, and we can sell the cure."

Eventually, the evidence, and ultimately the lawsuits, reach a point where a scapegoat is needed for public sacrifice. Usually, it's the guy who was on the inside:

"Dr. Reuben had been a paid speaker on behalf of Pfizer's medicines, and it paid for some of his research. "It is very disappointing to learn about Dr. Scott Reuben's alleged actions," Pfizer said in a statement. "When we decided to support Dr. Reuben's research, he worked for a credible academic medical center and appeared to be a reputable investigator." "

And, just as reasonably we aren't aware that we are breathing...

"Wyeth said it isn't aware of any financial relationship between the company and Dr. Reuben."

Unaware and proud of it.

"The retracted studies aren't expected to affect the drugs' regulatory status because Dr. Reuben's studies weren't part of the packages that manufacturers submitted to the FDA or European authorities."

Prestige has it's price but it also admits the sacrificial Plausible Denyability Clause that is in the small print when dancing on the wrong side of the line. If his studies we so unimportant, then why the kerfuffle to begin with? It's like saying the Federalist Papers had no influence on the Constitution because they weren't 'included' in the final package. Excuse me, but these were preliminary studies. Groundwork studies are almost always conducted at hospitals where the research is eventually constructed and conducted.

Burn him at the stake. But not for being accused of falsifying data that led to the sales of whole lines of pharms worth tens of millions. He deserves to be punished for being caught.

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