So Much For All The Baloney About Peer-Reviewed, Double Blind, Published In Reputable Journals, blah, blah blah.
We’ve followed plenty of controversies around drug trials, from ghostwriting to keeping quiet about unflattering results. But the latest news is particularly eye-popping: A prominent Massachusetts anesthesiologist allegedly fabricated 21 medical studies involving major drugs.
Some of the studies reported favorable results from use of Pfizer’s Bextra and Merck’s Vioxx, both painkillers that have since been pulled from the market. Others offered good news about Pfizer’s pain drugs Lyrica and Celebrex and Wyeth’s antidepressant Effexor XR. Doctors said Reuben’s work was particularly influential in pain treatment and that they were shocked by the news.
“We are left with a large hole in our understanding of this field,” Steven Shafer, editor-in-chief of Anesthesia and Analgesia, told Anesthesiology News, which first reported on the retractions. “There are substantial tendrils from this body of work that reach throughout the discipline of postoperative pain management.”
Pfizer had funded some of Reuben’s research and had also paid him to speak on behalf of its medicines. “It is very disappointing to learn about Dr. Scott Reuben’s alleged actions,” Pfizer said in a statement to WSJ. “When we decided to support Dr. Reuben’s research, he worked for a credible academic medical center and appeared to be a reputable investigator.”