There’s big money to be made in medicine, especially where devices and prescription drugs are concerned. Sometimes, the temptation is too great to resist for those motivated by greed. This leads to falsifying studies and placing patients at risks, sometimes in life-threatening situations.
A December 2014 study conducted by Charles Seife (2) of Arthur L. Carter Institute of Journalism at New York University. The university and students examined the FDA inspection files (open to public scrutiny) for clinical trials. The objective of the study aside from applying journalism investigative skills was to ascertain if violations in clinical trials were later mentioned in “peer-reviewed literature”.
The conclusion of the paper was that such violations were rarely included in this literature. This finding is especially disconcerting since some of the violations include data manipulation and complete fabrication and falsifying of documents and records (3).
FDA Files Reveal Fraudulent Medical Studies
These included such things as falsifying lab tests, admitting ineligible participants, fake X-rays, forged signatures and other violations that clearly compromised the integrity of the clinical trials making them invalid.
The students found 68 cases of the investigation results being “published in the peer-reviewed literature, resulting in a total of 95 publications”. However, out of those, 11 cases couldn’t be substantiated that the violations were related to the clinical trial, so these were excluded in the students’ analysis. This left 57 cases that the group examined.