March 11, 2009

Pain doctor bounced for faked study data

A Massachusetts hospital says it has suspended a prominent anesthesiologist who recently announced he had faked multiple research studies on pain medication.

The Wall Street Journal said Wednesday that Dr. Scott Reuben was on indefinite leave from his post as head of the acute pain unit at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Mass., and was also no longer on the faculty at Tufts University.

Reuben's admission that he faked data in 21 studies on painkillers, including Vioxx, has stunned the medical research community, the Journal reported.

If someone has a good reputation, has 10 years of papers and has a very high position within their medical school, generally you assume they have a lot of integrity, Dr. Jeffrey Kroin of Chicago's Rush Medical Center, who co-wrote four of the disputed papers, told the newspaper.

Many of Reuben's studies reported good results from various drugs and he had urged federal regulators not to restrict their use, the Journal said.