MD accused of falsifying findings in 21 important pain-drug studies

From the FMS Global News Desk of Jeanne Hambleton
Without prejudice
Courtesy of ProHealth.com
March 16, 2009

Apparently, the medical community was “universally hoodwinked” by the highly respected, influential, and much-published pain drug researcher, Dr. Scott Reuben, who has reportedly admitted making up “some or all” of the data in at least 21 important studies between 1996 and 2008. Now, researchers in the field say, they will be re-examining the literature and may need to repeat certain clinical trials.

These were studies supporting the safety and ‘benefits’ of such drugs as Pfizer Inc.’s Bextra, Celebrex, and the Fibromyalgia drug Lyrica; Merck’s Vioxx; and Wyeth’s antidepressant Effexor, which Reuben’s studies reported could also be used for pain.

While the others maintain their FDA-approved status, Bextra and Vioxx (both Cox-2 inhibitors) became infamous when they were pulled off the market after evidence mounted that they increased patient risk of stroke, heart attack, and death.

An anesthesiologist specializing in post-surgical pain relief at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts, Dr. Reuben was put on leave of absence after the hospital’s internal review board reportedly ascertained in a routine review that they had not approved some of his research. Their subsequent investigation revealed the extent of his allegedly unsubstantiated publications.

Journals which have retracted at least 13 of Dr. Reuben’s published studies so far include Anesthesia and Analgesia, and Anesthesiology. They have emphasized that Dr. Reuben’s co-authors on the papers have not been accused of wrongdoing, according to Anesthesiology News, which broke the story on March 4.
(http://www.anesthesiologynews.com/index.asp?ses=ogst&section_id=3&show=dept&article_id=12634)

“The retracted studies are not expected to affect the drugs’ regulatory status because Dr. Reuben’s studies were not part of the packages that manufacturers submitted to the FDA or European authorities,” according to a New York Times report on the situation dated March 11.

Nevertheless, some hospitals, including University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, say they are reviewing their pain treatment protocols and conducting their own studies to verify the effectiveness of drugs that Dr. Reuben has reported on.

To review a listing of articles that Baystate allegedly “found were based on fabricated data,” compiled by Anesthesia and Analgesia, log on to http://www.aaeditor.org/HWP/Retraction.Notice.pdf

(http://www.prohealth.com/library/showarticle.cfm?libid=14403)

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About jeanne hambleton

Journalist-wordsmith, former reporter, columnist, film critic, editor, Town Clerk and then fibromite and eventer with 5 conferences done and dusted. Interested in all health and well being issues, passionate about research to find a cure and cause for fibromyalgia. Member LinkedIn. Worked for 4 years with FMA UK as Regional Coordinator for SW and SE,and Chair for FMS SAS the Sussex and Surrey FM umbrella charity and Chair Folly Pogs Fibromyalgia Research UK - finding funding for our "cause for a cure" and President and co ordinator of National FM Conferences. Just finished last national annual Fibromyalgia Conference Weekend. This was another success with speakers from the States . Next year's conference in Chichester Park Hotel, West Sussex, will be April 24/27 2015 and bookings are coming in from those who raved about the event every year. I am very busy but happy to produce articles for publication. News Editor of FMS Global News on line but a bit behind due to conference. A workaholic beyond redemption! The future - who knows? Open to offers with payment. Versatile and looking for a regular paid column - you call the tune and I will play the pipes.
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